09/02/2012 02:45 GMT

Feed-In Tariffs: Davey Urged To Sort Out 'Disastrous' Plans To Slash Solar Subsidies

New Energy Secretary Ed Davey must sort out the "disastrous" plans to slash solar subsidies to safeguard thousands of jobs, campaigners urged today.

Friends of the Earth, who with two solar companies won a High Court challenge to the bid to halve the subsidies for households installing solar panels, also called on the government to drop its Supreme Court appeal against the ruling.

Last month, the High Court ruled that cutting the payments to installations completed from December 12 - before the official consultation ended - was unlawful.

Ministers have warned the falling costs of solar technology made the subsidies too generous and the feed-in tariffs scheme, which pays people for small scale renewables projects. risked spiralling over budget.

In a bid to end uncertainty over the tariffs, the government set a new date for introducing lower subsidies for installations, from March, but said it would still fight the High Court ruling over the December date.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is today expected to publish the results of the public consultation on the reductions, and ahead of the move Friends of the Earth said it was an opportunity to sort out the "mess".

The green group's executive director Andy Atkins said: "New Energy Secretary Ed Davey must ride to the rescue of thousands of UK solar jobs by insisting on significant changes to Government proposals to overhaul its solar subsidy scheme.

"The response to the public consultation on the disastrous solar subsidy proposals is a golden opportunity to sort out the mess the coalition has created and re-establish the Government's commitment to a clean energy future.

"Falling installation costs mean solar subsidies should be cut - but this should be done in a way that protects jobs and allows more cash-strapped households to plug into clean energy.

"Developing the UK's huge renewable energy potential is essential to tackle the huge damage caused by our dependency on expensive fossil fuels - a clean energy future and a strong economy are two sides of the same coin."