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Government defeated in the High Court over climate plans

  • By Esmé Stallard
  • Climate and science reporter, BBC News

Image source, fake images

The government has been defeated in court – for the second time – for not doing enough to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Environmental campaigners argued that the energy minister approved the government’s climate plan without evidence it could be achieved.

The High Court ruled on Friday that the government will now be required to rewrite the plan.

In response, the government defended its record on climate action.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero said: “The UK can be very proud of its record on climate change. We do not believe that a court case over the process represents the best way to drive progress towards our shared goal. to reach net zero.”

The legal challenge was brought by environmental groups Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and The Good Law Project.

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth’s chief campaigner, said it was “an embarrassing day for the government”.

Speaking outside court to BBC News, he said: “What we now need to see is a climate plan that is robust, comprehensive and fair, that ensures we meet all our climate targets, and that does so in a way that leaves no one behind. “

The three groups had previously won a case against the government in 2022 arguing that its Net Zero Plan was not detailed enough to explain how the UK would reduce its emissions, as required by the Climate Change Act.

In response, the government drew up a plan setting out how each of its policies would reduce emissions.

But campaigners said former Energy Secretary Grant Shapps did not consider the risks of running the plan and approved it assuming all policies would be achieved.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Sheldon said: “It is not possible to determine from the materials presented to the Secretary of State which of the proposals and policies would not be delivered at all or in their entirety.”

Later Friday, the judge is expected to set a deadline to review the plan.