After a High Court judge ruled that Government’s December 12 solar installation deadline was “unlawful” the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) vowed to file a case with the Court of Appeal. Today, that appeal was lodged, and DECC is hopeful its case will be heard.

A DECC spokesperson said: “We have lodged grounds of appeal with the Court of Appeal. We hope that permission will be granted for an appeal and that we can secure a hearing as soon as possible so that we can provide clarity for consumers and industry on the way forward following the consultation.”

According to Government, the High Court’s ruling that the 12/12 cut-off for solar installations was illegal “was based on the view that the proposed approach to implementing new tariffs for solar PV is inconsistent with the FiT scheme’s statutory purpose of encouraging small-scale low-carbon electricity generation.”

The spokesperson continued: “We disagree with this for a number of reasons. The overriding aim of the proposed reduction in tariffs for solar PV (as set out in the recent consultation) is to ensure that over the long term as many people as possible are encouraged to install small scale low-carbon generation (including other technologies as well as solar PV) and benefit from the funding available for the FIT scheme.

“Without an urgent reduction in the current tariffs, which give a very generous return, the budget for the scheme would be severely depleted and there would be very little available for future solar PV generators, or for other technologies. Our view is that the urgent steps we have proposed to protect the scheme for the future are fully consistent with the scheme’s statutory purpose.”

The first stage of the consultation on feed-in tariffs closed on December 23, with results expected by the end of January this year. However, since Friends of the Earth and certain members of the UK solar industry won their case against Government’s actions, the publication date has been set back. Approximately 3,000 responses are thought to have been received.

“We have also made the point that the judicial review was premature as no decision has yet been taken, and a decision will only be taken after a full analysis of the responses to the consultation,” DECC’s statement outlined.

It is unclear what the implications of this appeal will be. Government maintains that it is necessary to go through with the cuts, and still believes the 12/12 deadline is necessary. At present, any installations completed after the deadline date are subject to the lower FiT rates as of April 1, and installers have been advised to work with that in mind.

In reaction to the news, Jeremy Leggett, Chairman, Solarcentury said: “It's disappointing that the Secretary of State has plunged the solar industry into a further period of uncertainty by going to appeal. DECC should not be using the appeal process to prolong the uncertainty which they have created with their illegal proposal.  They must know that their prospects of success are slim.”

While Alan Aldridge, Managing Director of Riomay Renewable Energies said, “If the Government continues with its current stance on renewables, they will be putting Britain back 10 years when it comes to the green agenda.”

No date has been set for when we will hear the result of DECC’s appeal. The submission papers can be read in full on the Guardian.