Climate campaigners progress judicial review of energy secretary's Yorkshire gas plant consent.

3rd February 2020

Environmental campaigners have been granted permission to proceed with a High Court challenge against the energy secretary’s consent for a new gas-fired power plant in North Yorkshire, arguing that the decision is at odds with the government’s own decarbonisation commitments.

Article -From 30 January 2020 by Mark Wilding – in Planning Resources

In October last year, energy secretary Andrea Leadsom approved plans submitted by energy firm Drax for four new gas-fired turbines at its existing facility at Selby, despite the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) having recommended that the application be refused.

ClientEarth, a campaign group which last year threatened more than 100 councils with legal action over their local plan climate policies, said it was this week granted permission from the High Court to proceed with its judicial review of the decision.

Making its recommendation, PINS advised that the proposed power plant would “undermine the government’s commitment … to cut greenhouse gas emissions”.

ClientEarth claims that granting permission for the Drax scheme would take approved gas generation capacity to 18GW, three times the government’s own estimates for the amount of new gas generation required by 2035.

Sam Hunter Jones, climate lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “In its planning application, Drax failed to explain how this emissions-intensive gas project squares with the UK’s carbon targets and its strategy for clean growth.

“And the government’s own energy forecasts show that the UK does not need a major roll out of new large-scale gas generation capacity.

“The secretary of state has ignored the recommendations of her own planning authority, and her decision is at odds with the government’s own climate change plans to decarbonise in a cost-effective manner.”

ClientEarth said it expected hearings in the case to take place in the next two months.

Planning has approached the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a comment but it had yet to respond at the time of publication.

Energy secretary Andrea Leadsom (pic: Getty)