UK’s High Court agrees to hear solar feed-in tariff legal challenge

The UK’s High Court has agreed to hear the applications from environmental group Friends of the Earth and two solar companies, Solarcentury and HomeSun, challenging the government’s proposed cut to solar feed-in tariffs (FITs).

The legal challenge contests the government’s decision to reduce the FIT by over half for any installations completed after 12 December, which is two weeks before the consultation period on the proposals ends.

Following an earlier High Court ruling rejecting the challenge, the Court has now agreed to hear the applications on 15 December.

“We strongly believe Government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are illegal,” says Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins. “In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK's brightest success stories… It’s short sighted for Ministers to move the goalposts and prematurely pull the subsidy.”

Friends of the Earth claim that the cuts could cost up to 29,000 jobs, bankrupt businesses and reduce Treasury income by up to £230 million a year, according to a report commissioned with the Cut Don’t Kill campaign.

The organisation is also asking the High Court to cap legal costs on the case, which is allowed under international rules where environmental cases are in the public interest.

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Related stories:
House of Commons vote fails to save UK solar feed-in tariffs (25-Nov)
Solar industry to take legal action over feed-in tariff cut as CBI lambasts decision (11-Nov)
UK Government slashes feed-in tariffs for solar power (31-Oct)

07 December 2011