A judge has ordered an urgent hearing of a High Court challenge over Government plans to cut financial incentives afforded to solar photovoltaic technology.

Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and Homesun have been granted the opportunity to seek a ruling that the proposals put forward by DECC are unlawful.

Mr Justice Mitting, said the Government’s proposals had given rise to “economic risk” for those operating in the solar industry. The judge said that the application for Judicial Review will be heard on December 20 and 21.

John Faulks, Company Secretary for Solarcentury said: “It is only the first step of the legal challenge.  The Court agrees that we have a case to argue and has given us permission to challenge DECC. 

“Next we need to persuade the Court that DECC has acted illegally.  That will happen as soon as possible. The legal challenge is only part of the wider campaign by Solarcentury and the solar PV industry to get the Government to recognise the strategic value of solar PV in the energy mix and maintain viable support to build a successful industry.”

The High Court’s decision comes after it initially rejected permission for a Judicial Review to proceed after considering the coalition’s original application.

The group contend that the implementation of a December 12 deadline before the consultation period ends is illegal, and that a six-week timeframe from announcement to cut is an unreasonable timeframe for many planned projects.

Friends of the Earth and those behind the Cut Don’t Kill campaign also argue that the premature deadline could cost the industry up to 29,000 jobs and result in the loss of up to £230 million a year in tax income to the Treasury, according to a report released last month.

Faulks added: “The industry was expecting a cut in tariff and would have actively engaged with DECC to create a sustainable scheme including accepting significant but workable cuts. 

“A cut of over 50 percent that occurred in just six weeks and before the end of a consultation period is cynical and irrational.”

Faulks concluded: “They seem to have learned nothing from Spain, France or Germany about how to develop a viable renewable energy industry for the future benefit of the country.”