Just before Christmas the High Court ruled that the government's 50% cut in the Feed-in Tariff rate was 'legally flawed'. The government is now preparing an appeal and this is causing some confusion in the industry as to the current rate for new installations.
The judge, Mr Justice Mitting, said that it would be illegal for the government's proposed cut to have an effective date of 12th December, a mere two weeks before the end of the consultation on the 23rd December. He granted the government until today to appeal, which the Department of Climate Change (DECC) has now submitted. He also warned that any such appeal would have a limited chance of success.
Nevertheless, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker responded by stating, via Twitter, that budget restraints meant that for every new household receiving the 43p rate, two homes wouldn't receive it at the 21p rate. The ruling prompted David Hunt from EcoEnvironments to ask Barker what he should tell clients seeing as it is now unclear which rate is currently applicable. Barker responded by saying that although the court ruling has prolonged the uncertainty, many installers have told him that the 21p rate is about right. Howard Johns of the Cut Don't Kill campaign has responded to this by stating that DECC's request for an appeal has left the situation in limbo.
"In theory we are back to square one with the rates back to what they were pre-12th December" Johns commented in a blog posting "However, we will not be able to say that unless the government is not granted an appeal or loses an appeal hearing." Johns also commented that if the government wins the appeal it could reinstate the 12th December date, but if it loses then the old rate will remain in place until mid-February at least. Charles Perry, co-founder of consultancy SecondNature commented that the confusion has undermined business confidence in the tariff.
As if this bad enough, according to one poster on Twitter, despite the government stating they have submitted a request for appeal, they haven't actually done so just yet. As I write this the time is 15:15, which means DECC has 45 mins to submit the request by the four o'clock deadline.
You couldn't make it up!