UK climate plan found to be unlawful in ’embarrassing’ High Court ruling

Campaigners have dubbed it an “embarrassing day for the government” after a High Court ruled the government’s climate plan was not doing enough to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.

The High Court has ruled that Britain’s latest climate action plan is unlawful, following a challenge from green groups over the government’s emissions targets.

Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and the Good Law Project took legal action in 2023 over carbon budgets set by the government in 2023 to meet Britain’s target of net zero by 2050.

The High Court has now ruled that the government must redraft its climate action plan.

Tony Bosworth, lead campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it was “an embarrassing day for the government”.

Speaking outside the court to BBC News, he said: “What we now need to see is a climate plan which is robust, which is comprehensive and which is fair, which makes sure we meet all our climate targets, and which does that in a way which doesn’t leave anybody behind.”

The three campaigning groups had previously won a case against the government in 2022 arguing that its Net Zero Plan did not have enough detail in to explain how it would cut emissions.

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

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

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