The government faces a legal challenge over a set of “outdated” energy policies which are being used to approve fossil fuel projects even after it vowed to end Britain’s contribution to the climate crisis. Climate campaigners issued proceedings for a judicial review of the energy planning policies on Monday after officials refused to overhaul the rules, which could be used to support major fossil fuel power plants, open cast mines or fracking. The campaigners claim that the policies undermine the government’s promises to tackle carbon emissions, including in the Paris agreement and in its own net zero legislation which became law last year. The energy planning policies were put in place by government officials almost a decade ago to help avert the risk of blackouts, but are still being used to justify fossil fuel projects, including the controversial plans for a new gas plant at the Drax site in north Yorkshire. The National Policy Statement for Energy (NPS) was set by officials in 2011, and called for planning decision makers to find in favour of “urgent” fossil fuel projects to avoid an energy supply crunch which was forecast to raise the risk of blackouts in the middle of the decade. The policy statement is still being used to approve fossil fuel projects, despite a boom in renewable energy which has bolstered the UK’s supplies in recent years.
Guardian 18th May 2020 read more »