Government may face legal action for cutting funds of renewable energy

13 Dec, 2010

Friends of the earth has warned that if the government cuts its feed in tariff, it will start legal proceedings.

The charity argues that feed in tariffs cannot be cut as it has received a letter from the government, clearly stating their rates which will not change until 2013. Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s policy and campaigns director, said: ‘If ministers try to cut agreed payments for green electricity generation, they may find themselves in court.

‘Cutting feed-in-tariff levels would risk destabilising the UK’s small-scale renewable electricity market at the precise moment that it is finally starting to gain momentum, as well as undermining David Cameron’s promise to lead the greenest government ever.’

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Gita Parihar, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said that changing the tariffs at short notice after stating that they would remain at their current level for the first three years of the scheme could constitute a breach of “legitimate expectations”, making the decision unlawful. “It depends on the specifics of what is announced, but if the Treasury says ‘we are cutting by 10 per cent even though we said the tariffs would be in place for three years’, then I’d be amazed if there are not legal challenges,” she said.

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