At the beginning of yet another tense week in the UK solar industry Lord Marland, who supports the Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, attacked the cost of feed-in tariffs, stating that the scheme is, “one of the most ridiculous schemes that has ever been dreamed up.”

The comments, made public in the House of Lords, have further riled the UK solar industry, which has recently fought back against the self-dubbed ‘greenest Government ever.’

At the end of last year Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and HomeSun launched a campaign against Government’s decision, announced on October 31, to cut feed-in tariff rates from April 1, with a reference date of December 12. Many in the UK solar industry argued that by cutting the tariffs with only six weeks notice, Government would cause irreparable damage to the industry, and would be responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of redundancies.

Despite industry’s concerns, Government pushed ahead with its decision, ending up in  the High Court – which ruled its actions were “unlawful” – and consequently the Court if Appeal – which again highlighted the illegal nature of Government’s actions.

Not deterred by two defeats, DECC Ministers decided to launch another appeal, this time in the Supreme Court, further extending the confusion around tariff rates between December 12, 2011 and March 3, 2012.

This week, in the House of Lords, Labour Energy spokeswoman Baroness Smith of Basildon asked if it was a “good use of Government money to keep chasing this merry-go-round of court decisions the Government keeps losing.”

She added: “Wouldn't it be better to sit down with the industry and negotiate a way forward?”

The Baroness continued to point out that most people working in the UK solar industry have now accepted that feed-in tariff cuts need to happen, however these cuts need to take place legally, and in a way that protects the 30,000 jobs created by the industry.

Lord Marland replied: “Let’s look at what we are taking to court here. This is one of the most ridiculous schemes that has ever been dreamed up.

“It is already going to cost the consumer £7 billion for £400 million of net present value. This is on a product where you need the electricity when the sun doesn't shine.

“It is going to produce 1.1 percent of our electricity supply and it doesn’t target the needy and the consumers.”

These words, from a representative of the ‘greenest Government ever’, are expected to prompt considerable backlash from the solar industry.

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