Court of Appeal Dismissal of govt Appeal on FiT on 25th Jan 2012

  • 27/01/2012

Press Release: For immediate release
26 January 2012

More uncertainty hits social housing sector following Government’s defeat in Court of Appeal

Yesterday’s Court of Appeal ruling thwarted the Government’s plans last autumn to bring an early end to the 43.3p Feed in Tariff (FiT) – or did it?   With the likelihood of the government appealing to the Supreme Court, more uncertainty and time lies ahead for social housing providers – and, ultimately, the UK’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in fuel poverty may lose out on reduced energy costs.

“If the government appeals to the Supreme Court” comments Lucy Worrall, partner and social housing specialist at Croftons Solicitors LLP, “by the time any final decision is reached the likelihood of any photovoltaic solar panel schemes going ahead while the 43.3p Feed in Tariff still exists is pretty slim.”

Continuing, Lucy said “the Court of Appeal today ruled against the government without even hearing the appeal.  The government has said it is likely to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.    If the government is defeated again (and therefore the FiT goes back to 43.3p for installation schemes from 12 December 2011 to 3 March 2012), it is likely to be so close to 3 March 2012 that there won’t be any chance of planning and installing any schemes of any significance by RPs.”

“As far as registered providers are concerned, it’s a gamble,” adds Lucy.  “As far as we can ascertain at this point, the only certainty is that the lower rate of 21p/16.8p is to come into effect on 3 March 2012.   Other than that, there is the risk that the government’s appeal to the Supreme Court will be upheld – in which case the FiT reduction which was due to take effect on 12 December 2011 will be in place.  On the other hand, if the government is defeated in the Supreme Court, then what little time remains from then until 3 March is probably not realistic for any scheme to go ahead unless it is already well advanced.”

For registered providers willing to take a risk and the 43.3p remaining for installs completed before 3 March, Lucy says “There may still be enough time for those prepared to take the gamble and install panels. For registered providers looking at a rent a roof scheme, any such scheme would realistically have to be on uncharged stock unless both the lenders and their lawyers can act very quickly to give consent. Either way, speed is of the essence!”

Looking beyond 3 March 2012, though, Lucy feels that registered providers have a number of other options for renewable and green energy initiatives.     “There are still a number of viable options for pv including rent a roof schemes (which many have now written off) even after the FiT is reduced.” says Lucy. “We know of providers who have devised a way to make rent a roof schemes work at no cost to RP’s but at great benefit to their tenants”.


1.         For further information and commentary, contact Lucy Worrall – Partner on 0161 214 4829 or email [email protected] 

2.         Lucy Worrall has been a specialist social housing property lawyer for over 10 years, with particular expertise in development and regeneration, site acquisitions, s106 Agreements, leases (inc commercial leases), mixed tenure developments, building contracts, property sales and acquisitions, setting up shared ownership/new build HomeBuy schemes for sale, nomination agreements, supported housing schemes and service level and management agreements.  

Lucy is ranked in Chambers & Partners 2012 as a leading expert, with clients commenting that she is “fantastic, helpful, knows the market, is up to date on all the relevant legal developments, and is commercial too.”

Lucy has developed a special expertise in green technology for social landlords and in particular the installation of solar PV panels. She is a regular contributor of articles and press commentary in the national housing and North West business press.

3.         Firm Background:    Croftons is a specialist provider of legal services to the social housing sector. The firm has worked with housing associations for 50 years and is a significant player in the sector, dedicated to supporting its future development.   The firm is recognised in Chambers & Partners Legal Directory as a leader, saying that clients praise the firm as “very responsive: it works quickly and with complete accuracy.” Chambers has singled out partner Lucy Worrall for particular comment saying that “she is “fantastic, helpful, knows the market, is up to date on all the relevant legal developments, and is commercial too.”  In a landmark client feedback programme within the social housing sector in 2010, Croftons’ clients praised the firm for close ‘partnering’ relationships, a proactive and commercial approach, and a highly personal service.   The firm is currently in the final shortlist for the Manchester Legal Awards (MLS) Property Team of the Year.