The party fears its good environmental record could be trashed by the government plans

Liberal Democrat councillors are set to rebel over the government plans to halve feed-in tariffs for solar energy, the Guardian reports.

The government has proposed to cut the rate at which householders with solar panels are paid for their surplus electricity from 43p per kWh to 21p per kWh.

It has also imposed a very short deadline with the new tariff due to come into effect from 12 December, even though consultation on the plans will not stop until 23 December.

A briefing note from the local government association Lib Dem group, seen by the Guardian, says councillors should lobby for the cut to be postponed and for protection for social housing schemes, which are expected to be hit very badly by the cut.

It also warns that the cut to FITs will tarnish the Lib Dems’ good record on environmental issues and will endanger other government schemes such as the Green Deal, due to be launched next October.

The plans are already subject to a legal challenge by environmental groups and solar panel fitters which they are hoping will be heard before the 12 December deadline.