We have now issued proceedings for judicial review after the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it is not appropriate to review its outdated energy policy at this time.
The Energy National Policy Statements force planning decision makers to presume in favour of fossil fuel developments and fails to take into account a number of commitments by Government to tackle carbon emissions, including in the Paris Agreement and the Netzero by 2050 commitment enacted by Parliament in 2019.
In an exchange of pre-action letters, the Government legal department initially claimed that the Secretary of State had been thinking about whether to review the National Policy Statements since July 2018. But when we probed further we were told that in fact the Secretary of State had never personally thought about whether to review the policy, and that they would not even ask the Secretary of State whether he thinks it is appropriate to review the policies for at least another year. Our challenge now extends to this assumption of authority by civil servants.
The grounds for the claim can be found here. More information on the case, including witness statements from Dale Vince, Chief Executive of Ecotricity, George Monbiot, journalist and environmentalist and Good law Project can be found here.
We are teetering on the brink of a climate catastrophe. We think the evidence is such that as a matter of law the National Policy Statement needs to be changed. However the Government – civil servant or minister – is refusing even to agree it should be reviewed for possible change and that can’t be right. Our legal challenge will seek to change that.