Good Law Project ‘likely’ to challenge government in the High Court over Net Zero retreat

The Good Law Project have written to Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho, to let her know that they are considering a challenge to the Government’s ‘backsliding on Net Zero’ in the High Court.

The letter, they say, ‘demands answers as to how the Government expects to fulfill its legally-binding duty to meet upcoming carbon budgets whilst weakening its commitment on key green policies.’

the royal courts of justice, london, court

Last year, The Good Law Project, along with Joanna Wheatley, Client Earth and Friends of the Earth, successfully argued that the Government’s net zero strategy was inadequate, leading the Court to order that the existing Strategy be improved and the necessary detail added for Parliamentary – and public – scrutiny within eight months.

The letter refers to this case and reminds the Secretary that at any given time, it is her responsibility to ensure that the Government’s current set of policies and proposals will enable carbon budgets to be met.

It also refers to The Climate Change Committee’s Progress Report, published in June, which stated that their confidence in the UK meeting its medium-term targets had decreased in the past year, saying: ‘The Net Zero target was legislated in 2019, but there remains a lack of urgency over its delivery. The Net Zero transition is scheduled to take around three decades, but to do so requires a sustained high-intensity of action.’

Following that report – which was essentially telling the Net Zero Secretary that she was failing in her obligations – The Good Law Project observe that the situation deteriorated even further, with new North Sea oil and gas licenses issued, and a failure to attract any bids for the development of offshore wind.

The deterioration was accelerated markedly by yesterday’s events, but that notwithstanding, the Prime Minister remains bullish about hitting these targets: ‘We have absolute confidence and belief that we will hit them…we are confident, absolutely confident, in our position. We’ve been through all the numbers, we’ve looked at the range of policies we have in place…’ he said on The Today Programme.

The Good Law Project are now asking for clarity on the ‘numbers’ the PM referred to.

They also point out that the Net Zero Secretary is obliged to assess the risk to delivery of the individual policies and proposals on which she relies, something done using Risk Tables.

The Good Law Project says: ‘We assume that the Risk Tables have also been updated. Please confirm that this is correct, and disclose the updated Risk Tables, and any overarching analysis of the risk to achieving the carbon budgets that reflects the new package of policies and proposals.’

They have also asked for any documentation that shows the government taking into account the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee, given that recent announcements run entirely counter to them. They ask for all this information to be made available within seven days.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top