Government threatened with legal action over net zero backtracking
The Government has been threatened with further legal if it can’t show how it will meet its legally binding net zero targets, following Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he will water down key climate policies.
A legal letter has been sent to Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho, by Good Law Project demanding answers.
The letter highlights that the independent Climate Change Committee had grave concerns about whether the Government would meet those carbon budgets – even before Rishi Sunak’s speech. It also notes the Committee’s warning that the Prime Minister’s recent announcement is “likely to take the UK further away from its legal commitments”.
Alongside Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth, Good Law Project is already taking the Government to court over its latest net zero plans in a joint legal challenge. This followed previous joint legal action taken by the three organisations last year, which led to the High Court ordering the Government to rewrite its original net zero strategy as it was ruled unlawful.
Good Law Project has now threatened to expand its current legal challenge or start fresh proceedings against the Government if it does not provide urgent and satisfactory answers to the questions set out in the legal letter.
These include demands for the disclosure of the Government’s analysis of how it will still meet its legal obligations under the Climate Change Act. And asking for evidence to show whether Ministers took on the advice of the Climate Change Committee before changing their approach to certain net zero policies.
Legal Director of Good Law Project, Emma Dearnaley, said: “We are not at all convinced by Rishi Sunak’s bold claim that his Government can backslide on key climate policies and still be on track to meet upcoming carbon budgets.
“Our letter is a warning that we are prepared to take further legal action if Ministers refuse to show their working behind the Prime Minister’s assertion that the Government will still meet its net zero commitments”.