This Friday is Friday the 13th of January – unlucky for some. But here at Friends of the Earth we are looking forward to the doomed day, for it is a big day for our Final Demand campaign.
The High Court will announce on Friday whether the Government has a right to appeal against its decision that it acted unlawfully when it rushed through sudden cuts to solar payments. The ruling was made after Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, successfully took the Government to court over its decision to abruptly slash support for local renewable energy schemes – which has left the solar energy industry in crisis.
The High Court judge has already said that an appeal by the Government would have no realistic chance of success. However, ministers are insisting on going ahead with the appeal which, if they are unsuccessful, they could then take to the Supreme Court.
This ongoing uncertainty is costly and damaging to the solar industry, which has already suffered significant losses. Many orders have been cancelled by those expecting to lose out without the extra financial support. The solar industry had flourished under the Government scheme (the so-called Feed-in Tariff) that now stands in uncertainty, with more than 100,000 solar panel projects installed and 27,000 new jobs created.
Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to accept the High Court ruling and help the solar industry to recover by:
- Reducing tariff rates in a planned way from February 2012 to protect jobs.
- Increasing the budget for solar.
- Letting more people – including householders and disadvantaged communities – benefit from the technology.
What you can do
Please sign our petition for affordable, clean British energy.
(Update 13.01.12 pm): the ruling on whether the appeal can be heard has been delayed for another week at least, creating even more uncertainty)