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Government appeals FITs decision
Published:  23 February, 2012

Solar campaigners are disappointed that new energy secretary Ed Davey has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court over the Court of Appeal's decision on Feed-in Tariffs.

The appeal follows legal action by Friends of the Earth and solar companies, including Solarcentury, which argued that cuts to FITs were "unlawful" as the proposed tariff changes were planned to come force on December 12 - before the six-week public consultation had ended.

The Supreme Court ruled that the proposed cuts were illegal and Tuesday (February 21) was the last day the government could appeal the decision.

Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett, said: "We have been expecting this but we hoped that Ed Davey would see sense and not take the appeal.

"If we are lucky this is just a cynical exercise to limit the market to March 3 and they will withdraw in a few weeks.  If not, and they really are serious about a Supreme Court appeal, then the implications for the renewables industry are deeply worrying."

David Symons, consultant at WSP Environment & Energy said: "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 Solar Trade Association described the appeal as "regrettable" and said it could "prolong by several months the consumer uncertainty for installations".

Its chairman Howard Johns, said: "We had hoped that Decc would put an end to the disruption being caused to the sector by this court case.  A win in this case - whilst unlikely - would set a very bad precedent undermining the case for investment in renewables in the UK.

The solar sector has been struggling to cope with the number of consultations around the feed in tariff this year and the uncertainty they have caused - surely now is the time to move on from this situation.

The fall-out from the subsidies cut has resulted in many companies discarding plans to implement solar energy in their operations - which the solar industry warns could damage the UK's renewable credibility.