Claire Stephenson v. Secretary of State for Housing and Communities and Local Government
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Principle law(s): Climate Change Act
Side A: Claire Stephenson (Individual)
Side B: Secretary of State for Housing and Communities and Local Government (Government)
Core objectives: Claimant sought judicial review of a section of the National Planning Policy Framework that promoted fracking.
SummaryClaimant, on behalf of the advocacy group Talk Fracking, successfully challenged a section of the UK's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that promoted fracking. Claimant alleged that the section, known as paragraph 209(a), was developed without accounting for recent evidence of shale gas development's contribution to climate change. The Administrative Court of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice quashed paragraph 209(a). Paragraph 209(a) instructed minerals planning authorities to recognize the benefits of developing oil and gas, including unconventional hydrocarbons, and to implement policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction. The court concluded that the Secretary of State for Housing and Communities and Local Government acted unlawfully by failing to undertake a proper public consultation or to account for recent evidence of the climate impacts of shale gas development. The claimant also argued that paragraph 209(a) triggered the need to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment and ran afoul of the UK's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act of 2008, claims that the court rejected. On May 23, 2019, the Secretary issued a statement to remove paragraph 209(a), and the UK Government updated the NPPF on June 19.
Related laws and policies
The Act provides a long-term framework to improve carbon management, to help the transition to a low carbon economy, encourage investment in low carbon goods and provide an international signal. The Act establishes a legally binding target for the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net z...