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High Court gives permission for legal challenge to Net Zero and Heat and Buildings Strategies

Three campaign groups – Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and the Good Law Project – have been given permission to bring a legal challenge in the High Court over the Government's Net Zero and Heat and Buildings Strategies.

The legal challenge will be considered on the basis that the Net Zero Strategy does not comply with the Climate Change Act 2008.

Katie de Kauwe, lawyer at Friends of the Earth, said: “We are delighted that the High Court has granted us permission to take the government to court on all of our grounds. The judge agrees that our case has a realistic chance of success and merits investigation at a full hearing.

“Principally, we hope to prove just how woefully inadequate the government’s Net Zero Strategy is, the same policy framework that is supposed to be the UK’s roadmap to a safer, greener future. We believe the government has breached the Climate Change Act 2008, a vital piece of legislation that Friends of the Earth was pivotal in bringing into law. We will now get to work on preparing our case, and look forward to our day in court.”

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Friends of the Earth said it would argue that:

  • As the government's Net Zero Strategy has not quantified how its policies will be achieved and by when, it is entirely theoretical, and therefore unlawful. This “means that parliament, and the public, are not able to hold the government to account for any shortcomings or failures in the country’s transition to a low carbon future.”
  • The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy failed to consider the impacts of its policies on protected groups.

Sam Hunter Jones, Senior ClientEarth Lawyer, said: “It’s not enough for the UK Government simply to have a net zero strategy, it needs to include real-world policies that ensure it succeeds. Anything less is a breach of its legal duties and amounts to greenwashing and climate delay.”

A full hearing is expected to take place towards the end of 2022.

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