UK: High Court rules FIT cuts illegal

The lawsuit was brought before the country’s highest court by the environmental campaigning charity Friends of the Earth and two solar firms – Solarcentury and HomeSun. The High Court Ruled that because the FIT cuts came into effect before the consultation period was closed, they were illegal.

Reacting to the decision, a delighted Chairman of the Solar Trade Association, Howard Johns, said that a clear message has been sent to the government. "Winning a judicial review is not common in any field, but the fact that the judge felt that we had such a clear-cut case is very encouraging. The government has acted unlawfully in its consolation process," he said.

Both the Solar Trade Association and Friends of the Earth are not arguing for the country’s high photovoltaic FITs to remain in place, but rather a reduction of them in keeping with the falling costs of solar.

Johns said that while the government may very well appeal the High Court’s decision, the signal it sends about how Prime Minister David Cameron’s government has handled the FIT review is important. "The thing that’s been so difficult with this consultation, is that the effects have come in half way through the consolation. That, today, has proven to be unlawful."

Friends of the Earth calculate that the "premature" cuts to the FITs could cost 29,000 jobs in the U.K. photovoltaic industry.