High Court to hear application to challenge FIT

The Friends of the Earth is basing its legal challenge on the timing of the FIT cuts, which are scheduled to come into effect on December 12. The basis of the legal challenge is that the December 12 date is two weeks before a government consultation process, into the FIT changes, will end therefore making it illegal.

Friends of the Earth add that this has resulted in projects being left unfinished or planned projects being cancelled.

The NGO is mounting its legal challenge in a coalition with two solar companies, Solarcentury and HomeSun.

The High Court will hear the case on December 15 and the Friends of the Earth has also applied to have the court cap potential legal costs stemming from the case. It is permitted for this to occur in some public interest cases.

Howard Johns, Chairman of the UK’s Solar Trade Association, told pv magazine that while he can not be certain that the legal challenge will not be upheld, that it is a crucial aspect of the organized campaign against the sudden cuts to the FIT.

"[It’s] keeping this issue in the national media. To keep the pressure on very vocally right to the end of the process if need be. Just to make sure the government backtracks on some of the worst bits of the proposals, so that we do have a solar industry at the end of it."

Johns remains confident that the proposed FIT cuts can be modified. "It’s a consultation. They [the Government] are legally obliged to mold it to make the thing work but whether there’s a political will to do that is another thing. The campaigning we’re doing is to make sure there is a political will."

December 13 will be the Solar Trade Association’s second National Day of Action in protest to the government’s handling of the FIT.