The British government has lost a High Court judgment against legislation it planned to implement to cut taxpayer subsidies to the solar power industry.

A judge on Wednesday upheld a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies against the speed of changes to “feed-in tariffs” for household solar schemes.

He decided that the government had acted unlawfully because the cuts came into effect on December 12, nearly two weeks before a consultation on the issue was completed.

Howard Johns, Chairman of the Solar Trade Association, said the decision would give hope to 29,000 employed in the industry.

“The government has acted unlawfully and it is right that they are held to account. Now they need to act to rectify the damage,” he said. “We are happy to have cuts but not if they kill the industry.”

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