Updated Mar 7, 2023

Leaked documents indicate possible court action for UK government

The lack of action from the UK government to tackle climate change may lead to court action according to leaked documents acquired by the observer.

The Document, a leaked briefing from senior mandarins, was dated 20 February 2023 and labelled as "official sensitive".

Information in the document indicates that secretary of state for energy security and net zero, Grant Shapps, faces an increasing "legal risk" as a result of a lack of policy on complying with net zero targets, amongst other things.

This comes after a U-turn from Rishi Sunak on attending the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt, while later declaring cutting carbon emissions was important "because if we do not act today, we will risk leaving an ever more desperate inheritance for our children".

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) also voiced concern that failure to implement policies for cutting carbon emissions "increases the legal risk on the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) secretary of state (Shapps) if the reduced savings cannot be made across the economy, which DESNZ have indicated will not be possible."

Government advisers on the climate change committee (CCC) have expressed disapproval of the lack of climate plan for the agricultural sector, which also has pending legal deadlines. The papers commented "it is likely that if we do not commit to a plan in response to the CCC's recommendations, we will be singled out for further scrutiny by the CCC and other stakeholders."

On the matter a Defra spokesperson said that "we cannot comment on potential leaks".