FITs fight back in court again

Uncertainty continues to dog the solar industry as the Government drags the fights over subsidy cuts back to court today (January 13).

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) goes back to London’s High Court to appeal the right, won by campaigners, to have a judicial review over cuts to the Feed-In Tariff scheme (FITs).

The court ruled last year the cuts, fronted by climate change minister Greg Barker, were ‘illegal’ last year.

It was a major victory for the campaign bought by Friends of the Earth (FoE) and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, but the ongoing legal fight has left the solar industry in a state of flux.

Today’s hearing for permission to appeal will also be followed, if its granted, by the appeal itself on the same day, which should at least ease some of the continuing uncertainty hanging over the industry.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “This appeal will only add to the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the solar industry.

“Ministers should recycle some of the multi-million pound tax revenues generated by solar firms to safeguard the industry and enable more homes, businesses and communities to switch to clean energy.

“That’s why we’re campaigning for Government to do more to protect cash-strapped households from soaring fuel bills by delivering clean British energy we can all afford.”

Carillion director of business development, John Swinney, said: “This appeal prolongs uncertainty and further erodes industry and consumer confidence, which has been badly damaged by the way in which the consultation process has been conducted and by the dramatic cuts to feed-in tariffs proposed by the Government.

“These cuts would make it far more difficult to attract crucial private sector investment that is needed to drive the low carbon economy – and in particular to help those in fuel poverty.”

Luke Walsh

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