Friday, 27 January 2012

Victory For Now – Government Appeal Rejected

By Robin Whitlock

The government appeal against the High Court decision concerning the December 12th deadline for Feed-in Tariff’s cuts has been soundly defeated in the Court of Appeal. Three judges presided over the hearing and their decision was unanimous. Unfortunately however, this isn’t quite the end of the story, since Chris Huhne has decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. The judges refused the government permission to do so, so that means Mr Huhne will have to take the case to the Supreme Court directly. Mr Huhne’s decision to launch a further appeal has again thrown the sector into disarray causing more confusion among installers, clients and investors. 

So far the whole episode has cost the taxpayer £66,000 in legal fees, a figure that has prompted Ed Milliband to call for the government to accept the decision and move on. Huhne, however, is adamant, blaming the whole episode on the ‘mess’ left behind by Labour. North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon joined Mr Milliband in his appeal to the government to stop wasting public money "How much more public money do you intend to waste fighting the court ruling?" she asked the Energy Secretary, to which he replied "Spending a few thousand pounds in order to save consumers £1.5 billion, which is what would have happened if we had left this case to run - the reality is that Labour introduced a scheme which was fundamentally flawed." Meanwhile the Renewable Energy Association has called the whole affair ‘a fiasco’ and demanded an end to it so that the sector can ‘get back to business’.

John Cridland of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also joined in the fray commenting "The judgment should be used to draw a line under this saga, which saw the Government scoring a spectacular own goal and confidence in the renewables sector undermined." Friends of the Earth, HomeSun and SolarCentury, who launched the challenge against the government in the first place, have accused Mr Huhne of ‘making a mockery’ of the consultation process.

Mr Huhne has written a ministerial statement explaining his decision to seek a further appeal.


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