Chris Packham has initiated a legal case against the UK government for weakening their climate policies.
Chris Packham is taking legal action against the UK government’s choice to weaken important climate policies in the high court.
The individual who hosts broadcasts and advocates for environmental causes has requested a legal review of the government’s choice to abandon the schedule for gradually eliminating gasoline and diesel vehicles, gas heating systems, off-grid fossil fuel heating for homes, and minimum energy standards for residences.
A representative from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero stated that they denied Packham’s allegations and would strongly defend against the challenge. The government’s plan for meeting carbon budget targets, including a timeline, was presented to Parliament in March of this year.
In September, Rishi Sunak declared that the prohibition on selling new diesel and petrol vehicles would be postponed from 2030 to 2035. Additionally, he stated that 20% of households would be excluded from the new gas boiler ban, along with other modifications. This was done in order to alleviate the financial burden on regular citizens.
After the announcement, Packham sent letters to Sunak, the energy secretary, and the transport secretary to dispute the decision. He argued that the prime minister did not have the authority to alter the schedule of carbon budget commitments, as the implementation of the carbon budget delivery plan is controlled by law.
Packham stated that he was unsatisfied with the response to his letter and proceeded to submit an application for judicial review.
According to him, the government’s reply to his letter revealed that the choice was made without seeking input from the public, without notifying the climate change committee or parliament, and without giving any rationale for the postponement of the policies. He stated that his legal review is based on the responsibilities outlined in the Climate Change Act.
The lawsuit mentions the need to have prepared strategies to adhere to the budgets in case there are changes to the proposed plans and policies. Packham asserts that the secretaries of state have violated this duty by not specifying or explaining how they will still comply with the most recent budget.
The lawsuit also claims that there was a lack of consultation regarding the modifications, specifically a failure to consider ongoing discussions surrounding off-grid heating and minimal energy efficiency in rental units.
According to Rowan Smith, a lawyer from Leigh Day, if the government’s legal team is accurate, then the secretary of state would have unlimited power to disregard climate change policies without facing any consequences.
This legal challenge holds significant significance because, if it prevails, it will require the secretary of state to uphold their commitments to implementing policies that ensure carbon budgets are achieved.
The app was created in response to a legal dispute initiated by Friends of the Earth. The challenge argued that the 2021 sixth carbon budget lacked the necessary information to show how the UK would achieve net zero by 2050, as mandated by the Climate Change Act 2008.
The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s representative stated that they firmly deny these allegations and will vigorously defend against this challenge. They have exceeded expectations for each carbon budget so far and these modifications ensure that they will meet their legal obligation of achieving net zero emissions. They regularly release projections for future emissions in all industries and will continue to do so.