Community Energy England (CEE) has unveiled plans to initiate a Judicial Review over the UK Government’s U-turn on tax relief for the sector.

The Treasury had promised to continue giving tax relief to community energy projects, but then changed its mind.
The tax reliefs in question consist of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the Seed EIS, and Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).

Legal action is being supported by Community Energy Scotland and Community Energy Wales.

Decision not taken lightly

CEE Chairman Philip Wolfe said: “Our letter gives HM Treasury a final opportunity to reconsider its position in light of the legitimate expectations of the community energy sector arising from Government statements in the 2015 Budget.

“We have not taken the decision to challenge lightly, but believe it is important to seek the regulatory consistency necessary to inspire the billions of pounds of investment, which sustainable energy infrastructure needs to survive and thrive over the next decade and more.”

Selman Ansari, Public & Regulatory Law Partner at law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, which served the letter on the Treasury, said: ““after the budget statements, community energy groups had a legitimate expectation that the tax regime would remain unchanged for at least six months.

“The unexpected changes that the Treasury now proposes could jeopardise all their investment in projects being developed on that understanding.”

> Read extracts from the letter