The High Court today (December 5) agreed to look at the possibility of a judicial review into the Government’s plans to cut the Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) scheme.

Two applications have been brought firstly by campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) and secondly by two solar companies – Solarcentury and HomeSun – for permission to challenge the plans.

The High Court will hear the case on December 15 in what is an early Christmas present for campaigners who initially had a legal challenge rejected on November 25.

The organisations are now asking the High Court to reverse that decision and allow a hearing into the legal challenges as soon as possible.

FoE is also asking the High Court to cap its potential legal expenses for the case, claiming costs should be limited in public interest cases on the environment.

Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “We strongly believe Government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are illegal, we hope the High Court agrees to allow our case to be heard as soon as possible.

“We’ve also asked the High Court to cap our potential costs. International rules say this should be allowed in public interest cases on the environment – we can’t afford to bring a challenge if we face unlimited liability for the other side’s legal fees.

“In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK’s brightest success stories, enabling homes and communities across the country to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels.

“It’s short sighted for Ministers to move the goalposts and prematurely pull the subsidy – this will cost tens of thousands of jobs, bankrupt businesses and reduce Treasury income by up to £230m a year.”

Luke Walsh

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