Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping you up to date with the government’s proposed cuts to the feed in tariff. Legal challenges to the government’s decision have now been started. We asked the people making the legal case what they think the chances of success are.
The case is being put together by Solar Century with law firm Prosepct Law. Friends of the Earth are joining the case as separate claimants. Other organisations and businesses are also being asked to join the legal challenge.
We asked of Friends of the Earth if they were optimistic about the legal challenge. “We’re wouldn’t make a legal challenge if we didn’t have think it had a chance of success. We’ve challenged government decisions in the courts before, and the court has found in our favour.” FoE believe that it isn’t the cut in the tariff itself that’s putting jobs at risk, but rather the depth of the cut, and the abruptness of the decision. “The industry feels that other costs [of installing PV] have fallen and there could be a cut in the tariff but they are desperately concerned that the government’s plans could kill the industry”
We also spoke to the lawyers, Prospect Law, who are putting together the case. Although they didn’t want to speculate about the outcome, they did sound positive. “We certainly believe we have a very strong case,” Edward de la Billiere told us. He also explained the basis of the challenge. “We are arguing that the proposal to apply the new rates to all systems commissioned on or after 12 December is unfair, unlawful and a breach of people’s legitimate expectations.”
How is all of this affecting solar PV installers? I asked Laura Hiscox of Dulas (just down the road from CAT) if she was worried: “Having been active in the UK PV sector since the beginning, installing some of the first grant funded grid connected systems and being a Framework Supplier for Phase 2 of The Low Carbon Building Programme, we are used to the government chopping and changing their incentive schemes and therefore review our business plans annually.”
The legal challenge will be unfolding over the next few weeks and we’ll keep you posted with more news and updates.