Solarcentury

Government solar cuts are 'illegal' says High Court

Published by: Solarcentury
Date: 21/12/2011

Solarcentury argues that the Government needed go though the consultation process properly and only change tariffs at the end of the procedures laid down in statute. 

Jeremy Leggett, Chairman, Solarcentury said:

“We encouage the Secretary of State to accept the judges very clear ruling, not plunge the industry into a further period of uncertainty by considering going to appeal, and to conduct the reminder of the current consultation process properly with constructive converstations with the industry.”

Solarcentury is pleased with the decision, obviously.  The Court has stopped Government abusing its power but it doesn’t make up for the fact that DECC has created chaos for the renewable energy industry as a whole, and not just solar. Solarcentury was very reluctant to take this legal challenge but DECC gave us no choice.  All of this could have been avoided if DECC had done a proper consultation last summer, as they promised, and engaged constructively with the solar industry. I do hope that DECC will now engage properly with the industry, so that together we can build a viable solar industry in the UK, as they have in Germany.”

He added: “The whole point of Feed in Tariffs is to build the market.  It’s like seed capital.  It’s not a hand-out.  The support has to be clear, and it should step down gradually according to predictable rules.  That is the way to use this type of market support and build a viable market.  DECC already knows this and I hope they now understand that we cannot work in a market which is subject to whimsical and back dated decisions. We are still waiting for DECC to publish Phase 2 of the consultation about the management of the FITs scheme.  Let’s hope DECC do not try and pull another stunt to ambush us yet again.”

The Government’s own independent advisors say the economy must be weaned off of increasingly expensive fossil fuels like gas by investing in clean energy and slashing energy waste.

Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign is urging the Government to launch an investigation into the role of the Big Six energy firms in stopping people in Britain having energy we can all afford.

-ENDS-

Charlotte Webster, Solarcentury 07990 583307, 0207 8030148 Charlotte.webster@solarcentury.com

Notes to editors:

1. Photographs of Friends of the Earth’s action outside the High Court last week are available, for free at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwwfoecouk/sets/72157628428618941/

2. More than 17,000 people have asked the Government to keep supporting clean British energy – join them now at www.foe.co.uk/finaldemand

3. On Monday 31 October 2011 the Government launched a public consultation that would see the amount of solar panels installed each year fall by between 70 and 95 per cent: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn11_091/pn11_091.aspx

4. The Government’s proposals have already had a devastating impact. Countless planned clean energy schemes have been abandoned and thousands of jobs are under threat. Last month a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and Cut Don’t Kill – an alliance of solar firms and consumer and environmental organisations – revealed the premature cuts could threaten 29,000 jobs and lose the Treasury up to £230 million a year in tax income. Earlier this month construction firm Carillion warned 4,500 workers their jobs are at risk because of the Government’s proposals.

5. The Government’s decision to slash solar funding was described by the CBI as an‘own goal’ on Thursday 10 November 2011. http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/speeches/2011/11/john-cridlands-speech-to-cbi-east-midlands-annual-dinner/

6. Solar cuts will cost Treasury millions and destroy up to 29,000 jobs: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/solar_cuts_cost_millions_23112011.html

7. The ‘Cut, don’t kill campaign’ on www.oursolarfuture.org.uk has been joined by thousands in calling for a re think on the Governments Feed-in tariff decisions.

8. Over 11,000 people have viewed the ‘Cut, don’t kill’ campaign video ‘The Big Solar Backtrack’ in just one week http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pGNn80T1oA

9. Solarcentury says the Government’s actions are unlawful because: the consultation pre-judges its own result and, by setting the 12 December date, DECC has failed to take account of the long lead time projects which will be made impossible by this 6 week deadline. It also breaches the legitimate expectation which solar companies and customers have that any changes to the tariff would be made in a fair way according to the correct procedures.

10. Solarcentury is calling on the Government to stop the current illegal consultation; re-do it properly and commit to setting any eligibility date for projects fairly, after the consultation process and according to the correct procedures.

11. Solarcentury have many further arguments about how the Feed in Tariffs for solar PV should be funded and managed. These form part of its consultation response rather than part of the legal challenge. Examples of solar energy projects that have either been scrapped or are in jeopardy are available from Solarcentury’s press office – please call 02078030148/07990 5833079 for more information

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