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.
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.
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.”