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Government's appeal on Feed-in Tariff cuts to be heard

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Government's appeal on Feed-in Tariff cuts to be heard

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

Government's appeal on Feed-in Tariff cuts to be heard Government's appeal on Feed-in Tariff cuts to be heard

The Government's challenge to last month's High Court solar ruling will be heard by the Court of Appeal today - after the decision to cut subsidies before a consultation had ended was branded "legally flawed".

Last month, Friends of the Earth and two solar companies - Solar Century and HomeSun - won their legal challenge against the cuts.

FOE said the decision to cut the Feed-in tariff (FIT) before the consultation ended was unlawful.

On 31 October the Government issued a consultation - which closed on 23 December - proposing to slash electricity payments for solar schemes from 43.3p per kWh to just 21p for any scheme finished after 12 December.

Today the Court of Appeal will decide whether the Government has won the right to appeal the decision.

A spokesperson from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said earlier this month: "The High Court’s decision was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the FIT scheme’s statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation."

It added: "Without an urgent reduction in the current tariffs, which give a very generous return, the budget for the scheme would be severely depleted and there would be very little available for future solar PV generators, or for other technologies.   Our view is that the urgent steps we have proposed to protect the scheme for the future are fully consistent with the scheme’s statutory purpose."

DECC also claims the judicial review was premature as no final decision had yet been made. The spokesperson explained that no decision will be taken before a full analysis of the consultation responses has taken place.

Friends of the Earth has said that trying to appeal the High Court's ruling is an expensive waste of taxpayers' money.

It says today's appeal will simply "prolong the uncertainty", leaving businesses on tenterhooks about tariff rates for both future installations and those backdating to 12 December.

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