High Court to hold fresh hearing on whether UK’s net-zero plans are unlawful

The High Court has agreed to hear a joint challenge by green groups to the UK Government’s updated net-zero strategy, which was unveiled this March after the previous iteration was ruled to be unlawful.

High Court to hold fresh hearing on whether UK’s net-zero plans are unlawful

Pictured: Friends of the Earth at the High Court last year

Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and the Good Law Project received news on Friday (1 September) that the High Court would hear their new challenge.

A date is yet to be set for the three-day ‘rolled up’ hearing. This kind of hearing is similar in structure to a trial and will give all three green groups the chance to make their case in full. New Energy Security and Net-Zero Secretary Clair Coutinho will also be invited to appear.

The hearing concerns a package of policy measures announced in March 2023, including the revised net-zero strategy and Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP). The three groups will argue that these documents do not set out measures that would fully deliver the level of economy-wide decarbonisation committed to under the Climate Change Act.

Following a successful legal challenge to the previous iternation of the net-zero strategy, the three groups are stating that the updated strategy provides little in the way of progress. It still, they claim, lacks the sector-specific detail and level of incentives needed.

Friends of the Earth Lawyer Katie de Kauwe said: “We believe we have a strong case that the government’s revised climate strategy is unlawful, with its own advisers saying their plans fall short.”

She is referring, here, to the Climate Change Committee’s latest progress report to Parliament on the net-zero transition. This report discussed “worryingly slow” decarbonisation of several key high-carbon sectors, including heavy industry.

Since the report was released, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has committed to running a major oil and gas licencing round this upcoming autumn/winter. He has also reportedly been wavering over whether to weaken policies designed to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing and adoption.

ClientEarth’s lead in the UK, Kyle Lischak, said: “There has been speculation over this Government’s commitment to climate action. But the law remains clear – the government must have plans in place that can be relied on to deliver the UK’s climate targets.”

Comments (1)

  1. Anthony Tonge says:

    The government are acting like magicians what can they pull out of their hat this time around.

    Work with energy professionals who know what they are talking about and stop putting the blame of new university graduate who has no real industrial experience and expect them to get you out of the fertilser.

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