Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Chris Packham to bring judicial review of government’s net zero rollback

Renowned naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham has been granted permission to pursue a judicial review of the UK government’s decision to scale back certain green policies aimed at achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The decision by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in September included delaying the ban on new petrol and diesel cars and reducing the phase-out of gas boilers.

The legal challenge, brought by Chris Packham and represented by law firm Leigh Day, argues that the government’s rollback of these policies is unlawful. They contend that the government failed to consider the impact on achieving carbon reduction targets and neglected to consult the public and key stakeholders before making these policy changes.

Packham and his legal team assert three main grounds for their case:
1. It is not lawful for the government to remove key policies without having alternative measures in place to ensure targets will still be met.
2. The government failed to take mandatory and relevant considerations into account when deciding to scale back the policies, including the impact on achieving carbon reduction goals and advice from the Climate Change Committee.
3. There was a failure to consult the public and key stakeholders before abandoning the policies.

Packham expressed concern that abandoning these policies without comparable alternatives in place is reckless and dangerous, particularly given the threats posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.

Leigh Day solicitor Carol Day emphasized that the government’s actions risk rendering its report to Parliament under the Climate Change Act merely a snapshot in time, rather than a meaningful plan to achieve long-term environmental goals.

In response, a spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) stated that the government rejects these claims and will vigorously defend against the challenge. They reiterated the UK’s commitment to meeting its net zero targets while allowing families more time to transition to greener alternatives, especially amid concerns about the high cost of living.