EDITOR’S COMMENT: why is the UK Government allowing lefty activist lawyers to influence policy making? We’ve had enough of these out-of-touch, elitist lawyers!
Environmentalists are using the law to hound the government to force infrastructure plans into line with its climate change commitments.
Ministers are facing a fusillade of legal challenges on airports, energy and roads.
And now they have been threatened with new legal action unless their airports strategy reflects the drive towards a zero-emissions economy.
A separate legal challenge to the government’s road building strategy from campaign group Transport Action Network is already under way.
Earlier this week, campaigners won a battle to force ministers to review their energy policy statement so it reflects climate concerns.
The new action against the airports strategy comes from a not-for-profit group, the Good Law Project.
It is undaunted by this week’s Supreme Court defeat, when judges said the 2018 document didn’t break the law because at the time the UK was aiming for a 80% emissions cut by 2050.
Good Law accepts the Supreme Court ruling – but insists that the UK airports strategy must now be aligned with the Climate Change Act, which is now in force and which demands almost zero emissions by 2050.
The aviation strategy was agreed in the light of fears that airport capacity in south-east England was becoming over-loaded.
Good Law says the strategy should be reviewed because of the likely long-term dampening effect on business travel from the Covid pandemic – that’s as well as the carbon impacts of the runway.
A government spokesperson said it had always been clear that Heathrow expansion is a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change.
“We take our commitments on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions seriously,” they added.
“The government is planning to consult next year on an aviation decarbonisation strategy, which will set out proposals for how the aviation sector will play its part in delivering our net zero commitments.”