Today (December 15) Mr Justice Mitting ordered an ‘urgent hearing’ following a High Court challenge over plans to cut Feed-In Tariffs (FITs).

The challenge was brought, before the central London court, by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun.

The case centres on Government plans to cut feed-in tariff subsidies – payments made to households and communities that generate green electricity through solar panels – on any installations completed after Monday this week.

However the campaigners, who were initially turned down for a judicial review, will still need to convince another judge that the Government has acted ‘illegally’ in how it gone about cutting FITs.

The campaigners will be back in court next Tuesday and Wednesday (December 20 to 21) for the full hearing to determine if the cuts are illegal.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “We’re delighted the High Court has given the go-ahead to our legal challenge – we believe Government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are not only unfair, but illegal.

“These proposals have already had a disastrous impact on the solar industry – fledgling clean businesses have had the rug pulled from under their feet and a shadow hangs over thousands of jobs.

“Ministers must change direction and put the solar industry at the forefront of building a cleaner, safer future.”

Solarcentury company secretary, John Faulks, said: “We are pleased, but it is only the first step of the legal challenge.

“The court agrees we have a case to argue and has given us permission to challenge DECC.

“Next we need to persuade the Court that DECC has acted illegally.

“That will happen as soon as possible, the legal challenge is only part of the wider campaign by Solarcentury and the solar PV industry to get the Government to recognise the strategic value of solar PV in the energy mix and maintain viable support to build a successful industry.”

The Department for Energy and Climate Chnage (DECC) said it would continue to fight the case.

A spokeswoman said: “The Judge has today granted a hearing regarding the proposed changes to FITs for solar PV.

“This hearing will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, we will be defending this judicial review.”

Luke Walsh

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