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Feed-in Tariff Supreme Court appeal to go ahead

The government will appeal a decision that it acted unlawfully in slashing Feed-in Tariff rates to the Supreme Court.

The government lost its appeal against a High Court decision that it acted unlawfully in slashing solar subsidies in a ruling last month.

The decision, which had been expected, has been criticised, including by Friends of the Earth who launched the appeal against the original decision to cut Feed-in Tariff rates.

A DECC spokesperson said: “We respectfully disagree with the Court of Appeal’s decision on Feed-in Tariffs and we have today lodged an application with the Supreme Court seeking that court’s permission to appeal. We are now awaiting a decision of the Supreme Court on permission.

“We want to see the available funding spread as far and wide as possible making FITs a scheme for the many not a scheme for the few, supporting sustainable jobs in solar and in a whole range of small scale renewables.”

Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said: “A successful appeal will allow ministers to slash renewable energy subsidies at any time - even for solar panels and wind turbines that have been operating for years.

“This misguided appeal will only add to the uncertainty hovering over the renewable clean energy industry and the tens of thousands of people it employs.”

The government had already signalled its intention to appeal the ruling, but since the decision was made a new energy secretary Ed Davey has come into the Cabinet, however the move will go ahead this week.

David Symons, director at environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, said: “Many will wonder just why the government insists on carrying on with this. The government has said this action is necessary to save £1.5bn over the next 25 years.  But it was the government bungling that caused this debacle, not the industry. It’s time to move on.

“With plans already in place to reduce tariff levels from April, and to make further incremental reductions at a later date, the government’s time and energy would be better spent on rebuilding relationships and trust with an industry which has become increasingly cynical.

“The government needs a strong and vibrant green sector to create jobs and to make its flagship programmes such as Green Deal fly. It is time that it acknowledged that it’s been heavy handed in the tariff review, commit to learning lessons from this process, and take responsibility for the jobs that are being lost as a result of its rash approach.”

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