People, Environment

UK Gov’t Challenged to Publish Climate Change Plans

UK Gov’t Challenged to Publish Climate Change Plans UK Gov’t Challenged to Publish Climate Change Plans

The UK government must publish delayed plans on how it will cut greenhouse gas emissions or face legal action, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

In a letter to Britain’s Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd, environmental law firm ClientEarth challenged the government over continued delays in publishing the new emissions reduction plan that was originally due late last year.

The firm has called on the government to respond within 21 days.

The plan should set out the policies to meet legal targets under the Climate Change Act to cut greenhouse gases for the fifth five-yearly “carbon budget”, which covers the period from 2028 to 2032.

As the UK is on track to miss its targets for the fourth carbon budget from 2023 to 2027, ClientEarth said the plans should also set out the measures the government will implement to close the gap in the 2020s.

The emissions reduction plan is not the only promised environmental strategy the government has delayed, with campaigners also calling for the publication of the 25-year plan for the environment.

And ministers have until April 24 to publish court-mandated new plans for tackling illegal levels of air pollution.

ClientEarth’s letter called on the minister to confirm a timeframe for the emissions plan, explain how it will meet requirements under the Act to publish the plan “as soon as is reasonably practicable” and launch a consultation on its proposals.

Chief executive, James Thornton, said the government is long overdue to bring forward an ambitious plan that will close the persistent and unlawful gap between legally binding carbon budgets and current plans and policies.

This will drive investment and deliver the UK’s climate change commitments.

 “The plan was due in 2016. Businesses need certainty, investors need to know where to put their money and people need to be protected from climate change,” Thornton said.

“We want to work with the government on a strong, effective emissions reduction plan, but all we get is never-ending delays.”

Thornton said the government must publish the plan and must consult with industry and civil society.

“If it continues to kick this can down the road, we will have no option but to consider legal action,” he said.

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