A High Court ruling has rejected permission for Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and Homesun to mount a legal challenge over the Government’s proposal to cut the feed-in tariff.

The parties involved in the legal challenge believe that the disparity between the enforcement date of the proposed measures and the end of the consultation period are illegal. However, the High Court has moved to reject the legal challenge.

The organisations are determined to challenge the Government’s plan to cut the solar feed-in tariff rate by more than half and have been granted a second hearing on December 15, three days after the proposed changes to the FiT will come into effect.

A DECC representative told Solar Power Portal:  “We have received three applications for judicial review of the FiTs consultation which we are defending.  A judge has refused permission for the Judicial Reviews to proceed after considering the original applications. However, we understand that the three claimants have now renewed their applications, which means that the court will give further consideration at an oral hearing as to whether to grant permission for the judicial reviews to proceed.”

John Faulks, Gerneral Counsel for Solarcenury said: “To get a permission hearing on 15 December is actually good progress. That may sound ridiculous given the impact of December 12, but this is Judicial Review. It's an involved court process. We've managed to get the standard timetables significantly reduced on this case. We got knocked back on the written arguments at the initial application stage. That's not unusual. The case starts for real on December 15. Let's focus on that permission hearing and not lose sight of the fact that we all need to make sure DECC hears plenty of response to the consultation itself.”

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:  “We strongly believe Government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are illegal, we hope the High Court agrees to allow our case to be heard as soon as possible. 

“We've also asked the High Court to cap our potential costs. International rules say this should be allowed in public interest cases on the environment – we can't afford to bring a challenge if we face unlimited liability for the other side’s legal fees.”

The dismissal of the review comes after a long list of council and social schemes have already been scrapped and the announcement that 4,500 Carillion employees have been threatened with redundancy as a direct response to the imminent slashing of the FiT.

Mr Atkins concluded: “It’s short sighted for Ministers to move the goalposts and prematurely pull the subsidy – this will cost tens of thousands of jobs, bankrupt businesses and reduce Treasury income by up to £230m a year.”