United Kingdom

Vince et al. v. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy et al.

Jurisdiction: United Kingdom


Principle law(s): Climate Change Act


Side A: Dale Vince (Individual)


Side A: George Monbiot (Individual)


Side A: Good Law Project (Ngo)


Side B: United Kingdom (Government)


Core objectives:

Plaintiffs sought review of energy national policy statements in light of UK's new climate commitment and the Paris Agreement.


Summary
On May 18, 2020, three plaintiffs sought judicial review of the British government's energy national policy statements (Energy NPSs) issued in 2011 on the ground that the NPSs must be reevaluated in light of new British and global climate commitments. 

The plaintiffs are Dale Vince, founder of a renewable energy company called Ecotricity; journalist and campaigner George Monbiot; and the organization Good Law Project. On March 2 the plaintiffs sent a letter to the Secretaries of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy; Housing, Communities, and Local Government; and Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs. The letter urged the Secretaries to consider whether the Energy NPSs are still appropriate under section 6(1) of the Planning Act 2008 in light of changed circumstances. These changed circumstances include an amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment), in June 2019, to require that the UK achieves carbon neutrality by 2050; the Paris Agreement; the IPCC special report on 1.5 degrees of warming; the UK Parliament's declaration of a climate emergency; and the UK's exit from the European Union. The government responded on March 23 that it was considering whether to review the Energy NPSs. 

On May 18 the plaintiffs sought judicial review. The plaintiffs argue that the events discussed above constitute a significant change in circumstances since the Energy NPSs were adopted in 2011, requiring review of the NPSs. The plaintiffs alternatively argue that the Secretaries of State may not exercise their discretion to frustrate the operations of Any Act of Parliament, and that the current Energy NPSs frustrate the intent of the Climate Change Act 2008 as amended in 2019. The plaintiffs seek a declaration that the government must review the Energy NPSs; or, alternatively, a declaration that the Energy NPSs are unlawful. The plaintiffs filed an amended summons on June 29, 2020.
Case documents

Related laws and policies
  • This law implements United Kingdom legislation
    Climate Change Act

    Passed in 2008 Legislative

    The Act provides a long-term framework to improve carbon management, to help the transition to a low carbon economy, encourage investment in low carbon goods and provide an international signal. The Act establishes a legally binding target for the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net z...

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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