High Court rules against Govt in Feed-in-Tariff dispute

UPDATE: A bizarre statement from DECC today here defending their position in launching an appeal on the Fits ruling in the High Court. The statement ends with the sentence:

We have also made the point that the judicial review was premature as no decision has yet been taken, and a decision will only be taken after a full analysis of the responses to the consultation

The reason for the successful ruling was that DECC HAD made a decision and that decision was to be implemented before the consultation was finished.

 

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The High Court ruled in favour of the action brought against the Government by Friends of the Earth and others for the premature cuts in the Feed-in-Tariff. The ruling prevents the Government from appealing the decision. The action was brought because the FiT cut was more stringent than expected, earlier than promised and because the actual cut was programmed to come into force before the consultation on the cut was finished.

Coming as it does on the same day that the Select Committee sent back the National Planning Policy Framework and advised Government to change the presumption in favour of development as it is ‘too vague’, this is a good day for activism and the third sector versus a Government trying to reboot the market by any means available to it.

Growth at any price should not be an approach favoured by any Government, and sustainable energy should not be a pick-and-mix approach subject to the whims of ministers. We can find money to build roads, Crossrail and High Speed Rail, so why not for renewable energy?

The Government now has to spend the Christmas holidays picking itself up and dusting itself off in preparation for a gruelling session in Parliament to get both its renewable energy and planning legislation back on track. Not the Christmas present they would have wanted.

Meanwhile a number of organisations across the UK, Local Authorities, householders, Registered Social Landlords, must be asking themselves the question, should I revive the plans for large scale PV rollouts in light of this decision? They now have the three months until April to get systems installed and registered. But there is a significant risk that the Government will find another way to cut the tariffs early, and will there be sufficient appetite in the solar industry, already bruised, to have a second go in the courts.

Here is how our politicians dealt with the news today on Twitter, mature?

Government defeat in Courts on feed in tariff shows what a ridiculous mess they have made of a decent policy. So much for greenest gov ever.

Ed_Miliband yr legacy Ed. Boom & bust, no budget controls 4#FiTs. Just how much more wld u have added to our bills by over paying 4 solar?

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