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Case update 06 September 2021

Update: Government has snubbed the legal commitment to achieve NetZero by 2050

On the eve of COP26 the Government has, once again, snubbed the legal commitment in the Climate Change Act 2008 to achieve NetZero by 2050.

Government’s latest failure comes in a letter to Good Law Project of today’s date and follows almost nine months of foot-dragging correspondence over the proposed expansion at Heathrow. Good Law Project first intimated legal action in relation to the failure to update the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) in December 2020.

We think the ANPS – which predates our NetZero commitment – is no longer fit for purpose and that the Transport Secretary should suspend the policy immediately. However, Grant Shapps and his team have repeatedly stonewalled, and in the meantime, planning applications for new runways and airports continue to progress under the outdated policy. 

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We expect to issue proceedings promptly and have already commissioned a senior team of researchers to demonstrate that the policy is not consistent with NetZero.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said in his foreword to Government’s Energy White Paper that: “The UK has set a world-leading net-zero target, the first major economy to do so, but simply setting the target is not enough – we need to achieve it. Failing to act will result in natural catastrophes and changing weather patterns, as well as significant economic damage, supply chain disruption and displacement of populations.”

But “failing to act” has proven, once again, to be Government’s shameful response to the climate crisis. And on the eve of COP26 the whole world can see the ugly reality behind its window-dressing.

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