Net Zero Strategy: legal challenge granted permission

Press release
Friends of the Earth has been given the green light to take its case challenging the government's Net Zero and Heat and Buildings Strategies to the High Court.
  Published:  02 Mar 2022    |      2 minute read

Friends of the Earth has been granted permission to proceed with its legal challenge against the UK government over two of its flagship climate strategies which the group deem unlawful.

The Judicial Review, which will be heard at the High Court, will examine both the government’s Net Zero Strategy (NZS) and its Heat and Buildings Strategy. It will be considered on the basis that the NZS does not comply with the Climate Change Act 2008, which Friends of the Earth campaigned for and played a key role in securing.

Katie de Kauwe, lawyer at Friends of the Earth, said:

“We are delighted that the High Court has granted us permission to take the government to court on all of our grounds. The judge agrees that our case has a realistic chance of success and merits investigation at a full hearing.

“Principally, we hope to prove just how woefully inadequate the government’s Net Zero Strategy is, the same policy framework that is supposed to be the UK’s roadmap to a safer, greener future. We believe the government has breached the Climate Change Act 2008, a vital piece of legislation that Friends of the Earth was pivotal in bringing into law. We will now get to work on preparing our case, and look forward to our day in court.”

Friends of the Earth argues that as the government's Net Zero Strategy has not quantified how its policies will be achieved and by when, it is entirely theoretical, and therefore unlawful. Crucially, it means that parliament, and the public, are not able to hold the government to account for any shortcomings or failures in the country’s transition to a low carbon future.

The group also contends that the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy failed to consider the impacts of its policies on protected groups, which is vital to guaranteeing a fair energy transition.


Factors such as age (both the elderly and the very young who will live with the greatest future climate impacts), gender, race, and disability can make people more vulnerable to climate breakdown. Without consideration of the impacts on these groups, the government has breached the Equality Act 2010. Friends of the Earth believes that we need a fair energy transition, which means that government policy must be designed in a way that reflects the needs of every part of society.


For more information and interview requests contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 or email [email protected].


1. Friends of the Earth is being represented by David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers, Catherine Dobson of 39 Essex Chambers, Nina Pindham of No.5 Chambers and Rowan Smith at Leigh Day LLP.