New legal action looms if government climate plan doesn’t add up    

Press release
Measures look half-baked, half-hearted and dangerously lacking in ambition   
  Published:  30 Mar 2023    |      2 minute read

Today’s government announcements on energy security and climate change are inadequate and risk failing to meet UK climate targets, says Friends of the Earth.

These announcements are likely to be part of a revised net zero strategy, which the government is required to publish by the end of this week following a successful legal challenge by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project. More details on this are expected later today (Thursday 30 March).

The revised NZS needs to demonstrate how UK carbon emissions will fall in line with legally binding emission reduction targets. Friends of the Earth lawyers will study the detail of the revised strategy and are poised to act again if it falls short of meeting legally-binding carbon budgets.

Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said:

“Ministers should be scaling up and accelerating the race to net zero, but these plans look half-baked, half-hearted and dangerously lacking ambition.

“Instead of the nationwide insulation programme urgently needed to fix our heat-leaking homes, they’ve simply re-branded an existing scheme that will only reach a fraction of the properties that need improvement.

“Yet again, onshore wind has been ignored despite being cheap, plentiful and popular with the public – and crucial for meeting our climate targets.

“The idea that Carbon Capture and Storage is a solution is fanciful – burning fossil fuels can never be green.

“These announcements will do little to boost energy security, lower bills or put us on track to meet climate goals.”

Revised Net Zero Strategy

The government was forced to publish a revised Net Zero Strategy today, after the last one was ruled to be unlawful following a successful legal challenge by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project.

Mike Childs added:

“Friends of the Earth successfully took legal action against the government’s previous Net Zero Strategy because it failed to show how legally-binding climate targets would be met.

“With these policies looking dangerously lacklustre and lacking on climate action, we will be combing through the detail of the amended strategy and are poised to act if ministers have fallen short once again.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Last July, the High Court ruled that the NZS, which sets out plans to decarbonise the UK economy, didn’t meet the government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act to produce detailed climate policies that show how the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets will be met. The ruling stated that Greg Hands, the then Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who was responsible for signing off the Net Zero Strategy, didn’t have the legally required information on how carbon budgets would be met.