This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Britain’s climate plan is unlawful, says High Court – again

03 May 2024

The UK Government faces a critical setback as its Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) is defeated in court for a second time after failing to meet crucial carbon reduction targets.

(Image: Shutterstock)
(Image: Shutterstock)

The legal challenge was brought forth by environmental organisations Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth, and the Good Law Project. They contended that the CBDP relied too heavily on unproven technologies and vague policies, failing to provide concrete strategies for meeting emissions reduction goals.

Justice Sheldon, presiding over the case, upheld the majority of the grounds presented by the environmental campaigners. He stated that the former energy secretary's decision to approve the plan was "simply not justified by the evidence." Furthermore, he noted that the Government had acted on the basis of an incorrect understanding of the facts, particularly regarding the feasibility of proposed policies.

Katie de Kauwe, a Lawyer representing Friends of the Earth, described the ruling as "another embarrassing defeat for the Government and its reckless and inadequate climate plans.”

"Cutting emissions isn't only essential to avert the worst of climate breakdown, it will create long-term jobs in green industries of the future, boost energy security, bring down our bills and end our reliance on costly fossil fuels," Kauwe continued. 

Going forward, there needs to be a “credible and lawful action plan” to ensure that both national and international emissions reduction targets are met, according to Kauwe. “Meeting our domestic and international carbon reduction targets must be a top priority for whichever party wins the next general election.”

Green party MP Caroline Lucas also weighed in, saying: “When dealing with the climate emergency, simply ‘hoping for the best’ and putting your faith in unproven technologies and vague policies is not good enough – we need concrete plans and investments, and there is no time to lose.”

The ruling follows a previous legal defeat in 2022 over the Government's Net Zero Strategy. This latest decision underscores broader concerns regarding the Government's approach to climate change, including transparency, accountability, and policy coherence.

However, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) defended the Government’s approach “The claims in this case were largely about process and the judgment contains no criticism of the detailed plans we have in place. We do not believe a court case about process represents the best way of driving progress towards our shared goal of reaching net zero,” a spokesperson said. 

While the CBDP remains government policy, DESNZ has committed to publishing a new report within the next year, based on the court’s decision. 

Print this page | E-mail this page

MinitecRegarl Rexnord