The UK government is consulting on changes to documents that guide decisions on major energy developments.
The consultation, launched this week, follows a commitment in December’s Energy White Paper to update the energy National Policy Statements by the end of 2021.
The commitment came after the Good Law Project launched judicial review proceedings in May 2020 to force a review.
The National Policy Statements on energy were first published in 2011.
The Good Law Project said the documents presume in favour of fossil fuel developments and fail to take account of commitments to tackle carbon emissions:
“They do not “recognise or grapple with overriding national and international climate change commitments and targets.
“The outdated National Policy Statements mean approval to frack, or permission for new open-cast coal mines, can be pushed through.
“If we are to prevent more fossil-fuel projects being rubber-stamped, the government’s energy policy must be brought into line with our national and international climate commitments.”
The government said the revised statements should reflect the policies in the white paper and create a planning policy framework to deliver infrastructure needed for a transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Changes to the draft overarching energy statement include:
- Removes the need for new coal and large-scale oil-fired electricity generation
- Updates greenhouse gas emission reduction targets
- Adds the need for alternatives to new electricity generation, including energy efficiency, hydrogen, demand side response, decentralised and small scale electricity infrastructure
- Adds the need for carbon capture and storage
The current statements will continue until the review is completed.
The consultation runs until 29 November and is open to members of the public, industry, organisations and public bodies. It covers England, Scotland and Wales.