Energy and Green
Stroud businessman challenges Government’s energy policy in court
A boss of one of Gloucestershire’s biggest firms has joined environmental campaigners attempting to force a judicial review of the government's 2011 national policy statements on energy.
No stranger to a little publicity, and never shy to take on authority, Dale Vince is one of the triumvirate of names attempting to force a change to the law.
According to Mr Vince, the non-profit legal group Good Law Project, and George Monbiot, a columnist with the Guardian newspaper, the 2011 statements on energy are “incompatible” with ministers' own net zero carbon commitments.
The statements were put in place to help avert the risk of blackouts, but the campaigners say they are being used to justify fossil fuel projects, from the controversial Drax gas plant in Yorkshire to fracking, which they say undermines the UK’s climate goal commitments.
“We lodged our legal challenge with the courts today, after giving the government a couple of months to give us a serious answer - and not getting one,” said Mr Vince, founder of Stroud-based green energy supplier Ecotricity.
“Not for the first time, government deeds don’t match their promises. We can’t fight the climate crisis unless we change national policies like this one.
“It's ten years old but might as well be from the last century - making it easier to burn fossil fuels (or split atoms) than to harness the wind and the sun.
“Energy is one of the three big drivers of the climate crisis, it’s time for policy to reflect the science and the promises made - so then we can take the steps we need to.
“Shame we have to ask the courts to intervene, but it’s too important an issue to accept being fobbed off.
“It’s time we had a national energy policy that matches national climate commitments - without it we have no chance of getting to zero carbon or averting the climate crisis.
“Planning policy is like financial policy, tax and subsidies - it’s supports fossil fuels and holds back renewables. That makes no sense. We need the reverse.”
According to the Guardian newspaper, which not surprisingly ran an editorial on the ongoing saga “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.
“The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not respond to a request for comment.”