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Government fights back against High Court decision regarding Solar Panels subsidy cuts

Scheme success issues were the reason for the cuts .. a government minister said.

Today, Wednesday 4 January 2012, The government lodged an appeal in the High Court regarding a December decision to rule the reduction in subsidies for home PV panneling as "legally flawed".

The government will argue that the the cuts were essential to the success of the scheme, which had a prime purpose of encouraging a carbon reducing form of energy for homeowners. The government will also argue that initiation of the cuts were not a foretold conclusion and therefore the ruling was premature.

A DECC spokesman said: "We have lodged grounds of appeal with the court. We hope that permission will be granted for an appeal and that we can secure a hearing as soon as possible, so that we can provide clarity for consumers and industry on the way forward."

It is possible that a decision could come as early as Thursday on whether the appeal can go ahead or not.

A spokesman for the DECC said: "The high court's decision was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the Fit scheme's statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation,"

"The overriding aim of the proposed reduction in tariffs for solar PV is to ensure that over the long term as many people as possible are encouraged to install small-scale low-carbon generation. Without an urgent reduction in the current tariffs, which give a very generous return, the budget for the scheme would be severely depleted and there would be very little available for future solar PV generators, or for other technologies." says the DECC spokesman.

The appeal can be read here:
UK government grounds of appeal on solar subsidy court ruling

Back in December Mr Justice Mitting gave DECC until 4 January to seek an appeal, but he also warned that any appeal would have limited chances of success.

Climate minister Greg Barker today tweeted "DECC formally applied to Court of Appeal today. Timing up to Courts but hope to resolve well before the end of the month".

The tweet promptly got a reply from a very concerned Tony Walker of Solar Solutions yorkshire .. An MCS approved Solar PV Installation Service supplier and family run company providing a National Installation service from Leeds in Yorkshire. Http://www.solarsolutions.uk.com who said: What am I supposed to do with Staff until the decision? It's not very good Mr Barker.

The concern voiced by Mr Walker is not the only voice being heared as uproar is again instilling itself regarding this issue.

The proposal in October by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to cut the support for solar panels by 50% caused uproar in the industry, who claimed thousands of jobs would be lost, and that it deeply undermined the government's claim to be the "greenest ever".

Friends of the Earth have dubbed the appeal as a waste of public money. Friends of the Earth group's head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: "Trying to appeal the high court's ruling is an expensive waste of taxpayers' money".

In October, the cuts to the solar scheme – from 43.3p per kWh of energy generated to 21p – were leaked online. The cuts prompted a furious backlash from the solar industry and green groups.

Climate minister Greg Barker defended the cuts as necessary to protect the scheme long-term. "The plummeting costs of solar mean we've got no option but to act so that we stay within budget, and not threaten the whole viability of the Fits [feed-in tariff] scheme."