ClientEarth takes Government to court over gas plant

ClientEarth has launched a High Court challenge against the Government for its decision to approve plans for Europe’s largest gas plant.

The Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, has approved a large-scale gas plant despite the government’s own planning authority recommending the plans be rejected on climate grounds.

The situation is nuanced, as energy company Drax plans to install four new gas turbines at its plant in Selby, North Yorkshire to replace two existing coal-fired units ahead of the coal phase-out in 2025, but ClientEarth believes that the latest estimates mean that the UK will need 6GW of new gas generation by 2035, and there is already approval for 15GW worth of large-scale gas plants, meaning that there would be an overcapacity by a factor of three.

ClientEarth’s climate lawyer Sam Hunter Jones explains: “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.”

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