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Friends of the Earth confirms court battle with government looms

Friends of the Earth has confirmed it is taking the government to court over changes to Feed-in tariffs having failed to receive sufficient assurance that it will amend its proposals.

The environmental campaigning charity wrote to climate change minister Greg Barker warning that he had a week until 4pm today to amend proposals to cut FiT rates on schemes completed after December 12 ahead of the end of a consultation on the scheme closing on 23 December.

Friends of the Earth’s policy and campaigns director Craig Bennett said: “Ministers have failed to listen to our concerns about the legality of their plans to slash solar subsidies – we have now been left with no choice but to take the government to court.

“Slashing payments to any scheme completed after 12 December will unfairly pull the plug on thousands of clean energy schemes across the UK, preventing homes and communities from escaping soaring fuel bills.”

He added: “Ministers have pulled the rug from under the feet of one of the few areas of the economy that is creating new jobs – and completely undermined business confidence in clean energy.”

The charity said the government had sent a response to their letter but had indicated it didn’t believe the issues raised were urgent and therefore it didn’t intend to respond within the deadline.

Friends of the Earth say the FiT cut-off point, two weeks before the consultation ends, is unlawful and has evidence that projects are already being abandoned and solar firm redundancies have either taken place or are being urgently considered.

The CBI had earlier condemned the move, calling it the latest “own goal” from goverment. Mr Barker spoke to CBI director general John Cridland by phone today to explain the reasons behind the move.


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