Legal challenge over UK government’s climate strategy gets go ahead

Friends of the Earth announced this morning it has permission to proceed with a court challenge against two of the government’s landmark climate strategies.

Royal Courts of Justice, London. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The organisation sought a High Court judicial review of the Net Zero Strategy (NZS) and the Heat and Buildings Strategy.

A judge has concluded that the case deserves a full hearing.

Friends of the Earth argued that the NZS was unlawful because it did not comply with the 2008 Climate Change Act. The government had not quantified how the net zero policies would be achieved and by when, the organisation said. The strategy was “entirely theoretical and therefore unlawful”, it argued:

“Crucially it means that parliament and the public are not able to hold the government to account for any shortcomings or failures in the country’s transition to a low carbon future.”

Earlier today, a report by the influential Public Accounts Committee of MPs, which scrutinises public spending, said the government had no clear plan for funding the transition to net zero emissions. The committee also criticised ministers for vague performance measures, a lack of overall budget and a limited assessment of how much net zero measures would cost consumers.

Protected groups

Friends of the Earth also argued that the Heath and Buildings Strategy failed to consider the impacts on protected groups. This, it said, was vital to ensuring a fair energy transition which reflected the needs of every part of society:

“Factors such as age – both the elderly and the very young – gender, race, and disability can make people more vulnerable to climate breakdown. Without consideration of the impacts on these groups, the government has breached the Equality Act 2010.”

Katie de Kauwe, lawyer at Friends of the Earth, said:

“We are delighted that the High Court has granted us permission to take the government to court on all of our grounds. The judge agrees that our case has a realistic chance of success and merits investigation at a full hearing.

“Principally, we hope to prove just how woefully inadequate the government’s Net Zero Strategy is, the same policy framework that is supposed to be the UK’s roadmap to a safer, greener future.

“We believe the government has breached the Climate Change Act 2008, a vital piece of legislation that Friends of the Earth was pivotal in bringing into law. We will now get to work on preparing our case, and look forward to our day in court.”

9 replies »

  1. Could it be that this self-styled non- denier and slur-monger (“Quite a business”) hopes for the FOE loss? Or is it just a case of recurrent omniscience?

    • Ahh, someone has been reading the OED!

      Shame that some word definitions still seem to be an issue. After “fact” perhaps try “trend”, “pattern” or “probability”?

  2. FOE spends more donated ‘charitable trust’ cash to enrich more lawyers!! who’s on the charitable trust lawyers!,
    Who’s gonna Win!! = The LAWYER!
    Taxpayers (public purse) defends the 2008 CCA!
    Inevitably FOE loses, Lawyers win

  3. For PhilC – reference your comment re Ukraine / Red Cross on another post.

    In my experience in the field, the best charity, and the only relatively large one that I will donate to, is MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières). I have seen them working where the UN organisations / Red Cross / Oxfam etc would not go anywhere near, including in combat zones. They are mobilising to Ukraine. No huge overheads, no fancy cars or offices in places they work, nearly all the money goes where it is needed.

    If this continues to escalate we won’t have to worry about climate change…….

    • Hi Paul, yes, I don’t disagree with you. The problem with the current Ukraine situation, is that the closer that volunteers get to the fighting when it’s so out of anyone’s oversight, the more likely they can be targetted or accidentally involved in the conflict themselves. That has happened in Syria, Afghanistan and many other locations where conflict occurs without borders where ambulances and individuals have been specifically targetted just for being there.

      But thanks for suggesting Médecins Sans Frontières, I will consider that suggestion myself too.

      Perhaps you could introduce your suggestion there too, just in case this one hasn’t been noticed

      • For people living in the Isle Of Wight:
        Dont Drill The Wight website have highlighted the County Press announcement for “Goods for Ukrainian Refugees”

        The website indicates drop off points for specified goods to help refugees from Ukraine.

        This is a website link is for monetary donations for Ukraine refugees from any location:

      • From the Guardian 11minutes ago:

        Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has called for safe routes to allow civilians to flee Mariupol. Multiple MSF staff members are sheltering in the city with their families – one staff member said:

        The situation is the same as in recent days. This night the shelling was harder and closer. We collected snow and rain water yesterday to have some utility water. We tried to get free water today but the queue was huge. We also wanted to get ‘social’ bread but it is not clear the schedule and the places of distribution. According to people, multiple grocery stores were destroyed by missiles and the remaining things were taken by people in desperate need. Still no power, water, heating and mobile connection. No one heard about any evacuation yet. Pharmacies are out of medicine.”

        Christine Jamet, MSF director of operations, called today for safe routes to allow civilians to leave the city, including MSF staff and their families: “Civilians must not be trapped in a war zone,” Jamet said. “People seeking safety must be able to do so, without fear of violence”.

        MSF At the front as usual.

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