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Chris Packham in court to challenge government weakening green policy
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Chris Packham in court to challenge government weakening green...


Chris Packham is taking the government to court (Picture: PA)

Chris Packham has filed a High Court legal challenge against the UK government’s decision to weaken climate policies.

The environmental campaigner and broadcaster has applied for a judicial review of the government’s decision to ditch the timetable for a number of green policies.

These include plans for phasing out petrol and diesel cars and vans, gas boilers, off-grid fossil fuel domestic heating, and minimum energy ratings for homes.

The measures and their timetable were set out in the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, put before parliament in March, but in September Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a number of delays.

He pushed back the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035, and said 20% of households will be exempt from a new gas boiler ban, saying he doesn’t want to ‘burden ordinary people with the costs’.

Chris Packham wrote to Mr Sunak as well as the energy and transport secretaries to challenge the decision, saying the prime minister doesn’t have the legal right to change the timeline of the pledges, as actioning the plan is governed by statute.

But he says he didn’t receive a satisfactory response and has therefore filed a judicial review at the High Court.

Chris has long called for the government to pledge to protect our environment (Picture: Maureen McLean/Shutterstock) He’s a familiar face on our TV screens (Picture: PinPep/SWNS)

The legal challenge cites the requirement to have plans in place to meet the budgets if the proposals and policies within them are altered.

Chris also says the grounds for his judicial review include obligations under the Climate Change Act, and alleges there was a failure to consult on the changes to the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

He said: ‘We are in a crisis which threatens the whole world, everything living is in danger, including all of us.

‘We have the potential to reduce that threat, we have the solutions and we have plans and targets. We must not divert from these.

‘To do so on a whim for short term political gain is reckless and betrays a disregard for the future security of the planet.’

Chris argued the emissions reductions from the vehicle and gas boiler policies were ‘intrinsically important to the UK’s ability to reach somewhere near its net zero commitments’.

He added: ‘They should not have been changed without proper process and consultation. I believe that action was unlawful.’

Rowan Smith, a solicitor at Leigh Day, said: ‘If the government’s lawyers are correct, then the secretary of state would have carte blanche to rip up climate change policy at the drop of the hat, without any repercussions whatsoever.

He’s attended a number of protests (Picture: Martin Pope/Getty Images)

‘Chris and his supporters believe that would be an acute abuse of process, made even worse at the time of climate and ecological breakdown.

‘That’s why this legal challenge is so important: if successful, it will mean that the secretary of state has to keep to their promises to have in place policies that will enable carbon budgets to be met.’

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Leigh Day said it has instructed barristers David Wolfe KC, Catherine Dobson and Toby Fisher for the legal challenge.

It comes after a successful legal challenge by Friends of the Earth that the 2021 sixth carbon budget did not include sufficient detail in order to demonstrate how the UK would reach net zero by 2050 as the Climate Change Act 2008 says it must.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has been approached for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.



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