This country is a member of the European Union, so data from the NDC submitted by the EU on behalf of its members is being displayed. For further information about the EU's NDC, legislation, and targets, please see the EU profile.

Carbon Budget Order 2016 ( 2016 )

The Carbon Budget Order 2016 sets the carbon budget for the 2028–2032 budgetary period as 1,725,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (including emissions from international shipping). The budget limits annual emissions to an average 57 per cent below 1990 levels. Carbon budgets set a cap on the maximum level of the net UK carbon account for each five-year budgetary period.…read more

Energy Act 2016 ( 2016 )

The Energy Act 2016 formally establishes the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), sets its regulatory powers, and regulates onshore wind power. It supersedes the previous versions of the Energy Act. The Act was amended and superseded by the Energy Act 2016. The OGA is set up to regulate the oil and gas sector while aiming…read more

Finance Act 2011 ( 2011 )

The primary legislation for the introduction of a Carbon Price Floor (CPF). Supplies of coal, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in most forms of electricity generation become liable to newly created Carbon Price Support (CPS) rates of climate change levy (CCL), which are different from the main CCL rates levied on consumers’ use…read more

Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme ( 2010 )

The Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is a mandatory climate change and energy saving scheme. It aims to improve energy efficiency and cut emissions in large public and private sector organisations, which are responsible for around 10% of the UK’s emissions. The Scheme encourages organisa¬tions to develop energy management strategies that promote…read more

Feed-in Tariffs for renewable electricity ( 2010 )

Offers feed-in tariffs (FITs) for small-scale low-carbon electricity installed by householders, businesses and communities, even if the electricity is consumed on-site. Additional payment is provided for electricity fed into the grid. FITs vary according to technology, last between 10 and 25 years and are adjusted for inflation. They apply to hydro, anaerobic digestion, wind and…read more

UK Flood and Water Management Act – 2010 ( 2010 )

This Act makes provision about water, including provision about the management of risks in connection with flooding and coastal erosion. Article 7.2 specifies that the Environment Agency must specify the current and predicted impact of climate change on flood and coastal erosion risk management when coming up with a national flood and coastal erosion risk…read more

Climate Change Act ( 2008 / Mitigation and adaptation Framework )

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 zero by 2050. It also creates 5-yearly…read more

Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act ( 2006 )

The Act contains several measures to monitor and promote energy efficiency and establishes a scheme to promote national targets for micro-generation. It provides for a green certificate scheme for electricity from renewable sources and for reporting on the energy efficiency of residential accommodation. The Act placed an obligation on Defra to report to parliament on…read more

Company Car Tax Reform ( 2002 )

In 2002, the UK Company Car Tax system was revised to be carbon-based. All company cars first registered after January 1998 are taxed on a percentage of their list price according to CO2 emission bands, measured in grams per kilometre (g/km). The reform was intended to remove the perverse incentive in the existing system to…read more

Preferential Tax Regimes for Biofuels ( 2002 )

A reduced excise duty rate was introduced for biodiesel in July 2002 and bio-ethanol in 2005. Producers of bio-blend and bio-ethanol blend will also benefit from the reduced rate of excise duty, as the proportion of biodiesel or bio-ethanol in the blend bears the lower rate of excise duty.…read more

Renewables Obligation ( 2002 )

The Renewables Obligation (RO) is the current main mechanism for supporting large-scale generation of renewable electricity. It has been subject to various reforms and improvements. It is a market-based mechanism, designed to provide a substantial incentive for all eligible forms of renewable electricity. The RO places an obligation on licensed electricity suppliers to source a…read more

Climate Change Agreements ( 2001 )

Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) are voluntary agreements allow energy intensive business users to receive a discount from the Climate Change Levy of up to 90% of the Levy, in return for meeting energy efficiency or carbon saving targets. (There is also a 100% exemption from the Levy for certain energy-intensive metallurgical and mineralogical industries.) The…read more

Climate Change Levy ( 2001 )

The Levy applies to electricity, gas, solid fuel and liquefied gases used for lighting, heating and power in the business and public sectors. The Levy was designed to be broadly revenue neutral in concept: at the time of introduction it formed part of a “Levy Package” where the revenue collected is recycled back to business…read more

This country is a member of the European Union, so data from the NDC submitted by the EU on behalf of its members is being displayed. For further information about the EU's NDC, legislation, and targets, please see the EU profile.

National Adaptation Programme (last version covering 2018-2023) ( 2013 / Adaptation Framework )

The National Adaptation Programme (NAP) document – covering England only – sets out a register of actions agreed under the programme, aligns actions being taken with the risks identified in the 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), and establishes timeframes for actions according to different themes. The NAP sets out actions according to six themes:…read more

Carbon Plan ( 2011 )

The Carbon Plan replaced the 2009 Low Carbon Transition Plan. The Plan sets out how the UK will achieve decarbonisation within the framework of energy policy – making a transition to a low carbon economy while maintaining energy security and minimising costs to consumers (particularly those in poorer households). The Plan sets out proposals and…read more

UK Renewable Energy Roadmap ( 2011 )

The UK Renewable Energy Roadmap replaced the 2009 Renewable Energy Strategy. The Roadmap outlines how the UK will meet its legally binding target to ensure 15% of energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020. The government estimates that eight renewables technologies can deliver more than 90% of renewable energy needs in 2020, setting out…read more

Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy ( 2007 )

The Strategy sets out a wide range of actions that the UK is taking to encourage innovation and technology development in lower carbon transportation technologies, including stimulating investment in a broad range of R&D activities. Essential to this will be the use of regulatory frameworks such as carbon pricing and energy efficiency, but also government…read more

Climate Change Programme 2006 ( 2006 )

First published in 2000, the Climate Change Programme outlined all the policies and programmes in place to tackle climate change, including several measures on energy efficiency. A review resulted in the Climate Change Programme 2006. The 2006 Programme includes measures that are projected to reduce CO2 emissions to 15–18% below 1990 levels by 2010 and…read more

Code for Sustainable Homes ( 2006 )

Building on the recommendations of the Sustainable Buildings Task Group, the Code was developed to support a step change in the building of sustainable new homes. The Code provides a single national standard to guide industry in the design and construction of sustainable homes, considering energy among other aspects. Since 2007 the developer of any…read more

Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme ( 2002 )

Supports biomass-fuelled heat, and CHP projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors in England. Six rounds of funding have been provided since the Scheme was launched in 2002. Earlier rounds focused support on large-scale biomass power stations. The emphasis in later rounds has been to support small- and medium-sized projects. The Bio-energy Capital Grants…read more

This country is a member of the EU and so EU NDC data is being displayed.

Economy-wide

NDC Laws and National Policies

The European Union and its 28 Member States submitted a joint NDC: at least 40% domestic reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 1990

Source: NDC

Reductions in the ETS and non-ETS sectors amounting to 43% and 30% by 2030 compared to 2005 by 2030 against a 2005 baseline (collective EU target)

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2005 | Source(s): 2030 frame... (2014 / Executive)

At least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 by 2030 against a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): 2030 frame... (2014 / Executive)

Reducing by 2050 GHG emissions by 80–95 % by 2050 against a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2050 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Decision N... (2013 / Legislative)

Maximum quantity of hydrofluorocarbons to be placed on the market and corresponding quotas by 2015, 2030

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): Fluorinate... (2014 / Legislative)

In 2020, the target is for the emissions from the ETS sectors to be 21% lower than in 2005

Economy Wide | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

Reduction of EU GHG emissions by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2010 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2006 / Executive)

Carbon budget for the 2028–2032 budgetary period is 1,725,000,000 tonnes of CO2eq. by 2028-2032

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2032 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Bud... (2016 / Legislative)

Carbon budget for the 2028–2032 budgetary period is 1,725,000,000 tonnes of CO2eq. by 2028-2032

Economy Wide | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2032 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Bud... (2016 / Legislative)

Emissions are at least 80% lower than the baseline by 2050 compared with a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2050 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

80% cut in GHG emissions by 2050 compared with a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2050 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

Emissions are at least 80% lower than the baseline by 2050 compared with a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2050 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

80% cut in GHG emissions by 2050 compared with a 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2050 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

Annual emissions in 2017-2020 to be at least 34% lower than the 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

Annual emissions in 2017-2020 to be at least 34% lower than the 1990 baseline

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): Climate Ch... (2008 / Legislative)

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Source(s):

Energy

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

20% of EU energy consumption to come from renewable resources by 2020

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

An EU target of at least 27% is set for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU by 2030

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): 2030 frame... (2014 / Executive)

An indicative target at the EU level of at least 27% is set for improving energy efficiency in 2030 compared to projections of future energy consumption based on the current criteria by 2030 against a 2014 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): 2030 frame... (2014 / Executive)

On 30 November 2016 the Commission proposed an update to the Energy Efficiency Directive, including a new 30% energy efficiency target for 2030 by 2030 against a 1990 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 1990 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

Energy distributors or retail energy sales companies have to achieve 1.5% energy savings per year through the implementation of energy efficiency measures by 2020 against a 2009 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels, by improving energy efficiency by 2020 against a 2009 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

Obligated energy distributors and/or retail energy sales companies achieve a cumulative end-use energy savings target by 31 December 2020 at least equivalent 1.5% a year from 2014 to 2020 of the annual energy sales to final customers of all energy distributors or all retail energy sales companies by volume, averaged over the most recent 3-year period prior to 2013 by 2020 against a 2012 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2012 | Source(s): Energy Eff... (2012 / Legislative)

The Union’s 2020 energy consumption has to be no more than 1 474 Mtoe of primary energy or no more than 1 078 Mtoe of final energy by 2020 against a 2012 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2012 | Source(s): Energy Eff... (2012 / Legislative)

Union’s 2020 20% headline target on energy efficiency by 2020 against a 2012 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2012 | Source(s): Energy Eff... (2012 / Legislative)

The biofuels and bio-liquids should contribute to a reduction of at least 35% of GHG emissions. From 2017, their share in emissions savings should be increased to 50% by 2020

Biofuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

12% of heat from renewable sources by 2020

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Pla... (2011 / Executive)

Uptake of offshore wind of up to 16 GW by 2020 and much higher levels in the 2020s

Renewable Energy | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): UK Renewab... (2011 / Executive)

12% of heat from renewable sources by 2020

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Pla... (2011 / Executive)

Transportation

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Biofuel GHG emissions must be >35% lower than the fossil fuel they are replacing by 2017, 2018 against a 2015 baseline

Biofuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2018 | Base year: 2015 | Source(s): Fuel Quali... (2009 / Legislative)

Manufacturer's average emissions to be reduced yearly by 2014-2020 against a 2011 baseline

General | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): Emission p... (2011 / Legislative)

Increasing aircraft fuel efficiency, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 20 to 30 % compared to ‘state-of-the-art’ aircraft entering into service as from 2014 by 2020

General | Trajectory Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2014 | Source(s): Clean Sky ... (2007 / Legislative)

Reduce CO2 emissions by 50% and NOx by 80% by 2020 against a 2007 baseline

General | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2007 | Source(s): Clean Sky ... (2007 / Legislative)

Reducing the GHG intensity of fuels used in vehicles for transportation by 10% by 2020 against a 2009 baseline

General | Intensity Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): Fuel Quali... (2009 / Legislative)

Average emissions of 95 g CO2/km as average emissions for the new car fleet, in accordance with Article 13(5) by 2020

General | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): Emission p... (2009 / Legislative)

At least 10% share of renewables in final energy consumption in the transportation sector by 2020

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

Average emissions of 147 gCO2/km for the average emissions of new light commercial vehicles registered in the Union subject to confirmation of its feasibility, as specified in Article 13(1) by 2020

General | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): Emission p... (2011 / Legislative)

The specific emissions of CO2 of each light commercial vehicle which is designed to be capable of running on a mixture of petrol with 85% bioethanol (‘E85’), and which complies with relevant Union legislation or European technical standards, shall be reduced by 5% by 2015

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2015 | Base year: 2011 | Source(s): Emission p... (2011 / Legislative)

A fleet average car procurement target of 130g/km CO2 by 2010/11 for new cars purchased by Government and used for administrative operations by 2011 against a 2007 baseline

Procurement | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2011 | Base year: 2007 | Source(s): Low Carbon... (2007 / Executive)

Transport policies in the Government’s existing climate change programme are expected to deliver around 6.8MtC of savings in 2010 compared to a business as usual scenario

General | Base Year Target | Target year: 2010 | Base year: 2007 | Source(s): Low Carbon... (2007 / Executive)

Buildings

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Every year, governments in EU countries must carry out energy efficient renovations on at least 3% (by floor area) of the buildings they own and occupy by 2020 against a 2009 baseline

Energy Efficiency | Base Year Target | Target year: 2020 | Base year: 2009 | Source(s): 2020 Clima... (2009 / Legislative)

All new non-domestic buildings in England to be zero carbon from 2019 and all new homes in the UK from 2016 would be zero carbon by 2016, 2019

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2019 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Pla... (2011 / Executive)

All new non-domestic buildings in England to be zero carbon from 2019 and all new homes in the UK from 2016 would be zero carbon by 2016, 2019

Renewable Energy | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2019 | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Pla... (2011 / Executive)

Industry

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Reduction in overall industry emissions of up to 70% by N/A

General | Fixed Level Target | Target year: N/A | Base year: N/A | Source(s): Carbon Pla... (2011 / Executive)

Agriculture

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Coastal Zones

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Cross-Cutting Area

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Disaster Risk Management (DRM)

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Environment

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Health

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

LULUCF

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Social Development

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Tourism

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Urban

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Waste

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Water

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

The UK began to introduce policies to tackle GHGs emissions in the early 2000s. In 2001, it introduced a Climate Change Levy that applies to electricity, gas, solid fuel and liquefied gases used for lighting, heating and power in the business and public sectors. Complementing the levy, under Climate Change Agreements that took effect in 2001, energy intensive business users are allowed to receive a discount from the levy if they meet energy efficiency or carbon saving targets. This measure was extended in time and sectoral coverage in 2004 and 2007.

In 2006, the Climate Change Programme outlined all policies and programmes to tackle climate change, including several measures relating to energy efficiency. The measures in the 2006 Programme were projected to reduce CO2 emissions to 15–18% below 1990 levels by 2010 and work towards the longer term goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050, as set out in the Energy White Paper (2003). In 2006, the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act became law, placing an obligation on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to report to Parliament on GHG emissions and actions taken by government to reduce these emissions. The first report was put to Parliament in 2007. The legislation also estab­lished a scheme to promote national targets for micro-generation and provided for reporting on the energy efficiency of residential accommodation.

These policies, together with the elevation of climate change as a political issue during and after the 2005 G8 Summit, prepared the ground for the UK’s flagship legislation on climate change – the 2008 Climate Change Act. This law, passed with the support of all major political parties puts the UK’s emissions reduction target into legislation (toughened by Parliament to “at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050”), created five-yearly carbon budgets to help ensure a cost-effective trajectory towards the long-term goal, and set up the independent Committee on Climate Change to advise the government on carbon targets and monitor progress in meeting them. It was the first law in the world to set statutory GHG reduction targets.

The first three five-year carbon budgets (for 2008-2012, 2013-2017 and 2018-2022) were set in law in 2009. In line with the requirements set out in the Climate Change Act, in 2011 the government proposed, and Parliament approved, the level of the fourth carbon budget, from 2023–2027. The level was set at 1,950 Mt CO2-equivalent over five years, in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations, putting into law a target of a 50% reduction from 1990 levels by 2027 (consistent with the target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050). These plans were re-affirmed in July 2014. The fifth carbon (2028-2032) budget was set by law  in July 2016. The fifth carbon budget advice recommends an emissions limit of 1,765 MtCO2e over the period 2028-2032 including emissions from international shipping. This is an emissions reduction of 57% on 1990 levels.

In March 2016, the Government released its latest Budget which provides updates and changes to Energy and Environment taxes. Below are some of the key climate-related provisions of the Budget (text directly adapted from the text of the policy paper):

  • “Reform of business energy taxes – Following consultation on simplification of the business energy efficiency tax landscape, the budget announces the biggest business energy tax reforms since the taxes were introduced:

    • abolish the administratively burdensome Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme with effect from the end of the 2018-19 compliance year
    • increase progressively the main rates of Climate Change Levy (CCL) from 1 April 2017, 2018 and 2019
    • increase the CCL discount for sectors with Climate Change Agreements to compensate equivalently for the increase in CCL main rates. The CCL discount for electricity will increase from 90% to 93%, and the discount for gas will increase from 65% to 78% from 1 April 2019.
    • rebalance the main rates of CCL for different fuel types; in the longer term, the government intends to rebalance rates further to deliver greater energy efficiency savings, to reach a 1:1 ratio of gas and electricity rates by 2025
  • Carbon Price Support rates to continue to be capped at £18/tCO2 to 2019-20. For 2020-21, the cap will be maintained in real terms and set at £18/tCO2 plus RPI. The government will set out the long-term direction for CPS rates and the Carbon Price Floor at Autumn Statement 2016. (Finance Bill 2018) (37)
  • Enhanced Capital Allowances for energy-saving and water-efficient technologies are kept and updated to promote development of efficient technologies”

Another important backbone of climate policy is the transposition in national legislation of EU Directives. Most notable is the EU Emission Trading Scheme, which covers installations responsible for around 50% of GHG emissions in the EU and puts a price on carbon. Other EU Directives include the Renewables Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Industrial Emissions Directive and the EU Eco-Design Directive.

The government has introduced a number of laws, policies and measures to support the achievement of the targets contained in the Climate Change Act. The 2011 Carbon Plan (which replaced the 2009 Low Carbon Transition Plan) outlines plans to ensure the UK meets its emission reduction targets and its first four 5-year carbon budgets. In 2012, a Green Investment Bank was launched, with an initial capitalisation of GBP3bn (USD4.7bn).

The 2011 Energy Act has three principal objectives: tackling barriers to investment in energy efficiency (including via the Green Deal that provides up-front finance for investments in energy efficiency in the home; enhancing energy security; and enabling investment in low carbon energy.

The 2013 Energy Act, implements government plans for Electricity Market Reform (EMR). EMR will help incentivise up to GBP110bn (USD180.1bn) of further investments required over the coming decade to the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure with a more diverse and low-carbon energy mix to help ensure that the UK has future security of electricity supply and meets its climate and renewables targets in a way that minimises costs to consumers.  Key elements of the reform package include:

  • The introduction of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) to incentivise long-term low-carbon energy investments
  • The introduction of a Capacity Market, to ensure security of electricity supply by providing regular payments to capacity providers (both demand and supply), in return for which they must be available to produce energy (or reduce demand) when the system is tight, or face penalties
  • An Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) set at 450g CO2/kWh to reinforce the requirement that no new coal-fired power stations are built without CCS, but also to enable short-term investment in gas

The government monitors the effectiveness of climate change policies through Single Departmental Plans (most recent 2015-2020), annual reports to Parliament and the Committee on Climate Change’s annual review of progress towards meeting carbon budgets and the 2050 targets. The sixth CCC review published in July 2014 notes good progress towards implementing a number of policies and towards the development of new policies – notably improved fuel efficiency of new cars, investment in wind generation, and development of EMR. However, there was limited progress in other areas – such as energy efficiency improvements in the commercial and industrial sectors, uptake of electric vehicles and heat pumps, and demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) – and the underlying pace of emissions is currently insufficient to meet future carbon budgets.

Carbon Pricing

The UK, as a Member State of the European Union, participates in the EU’s flagship policy to reduce GHG emissions and encourage investment in low carbon energy – the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The legal framework for the EU ETS is set out in the EU ETS Directive and UK GHG Emission Trading Scheme Regulations.

The UK has around 1,000 EU ETS installations, accounting for around 50% of the emissions reductions target between 2013 and 2020. The EU ETS therefore plays a key part in ensuring the UK complies with its legally binding carbon budgets.

In 2013, given the relatively low price of carbon in the EU ETS and the resulting lack of a strong incentive to invest in low carbon technologies, a carbon price floor (announced in the 2011 Budget) was introduced. The price was initially set at GBP16 (USD25) per tonne rising to GBP30 (USD47) per tonne in 2020. The aim is to give investors greater certainty and reduce the risk of low carbon investments. However, in March 2014 it was announced that the price floor will be frozen from April 2016 at GBP18 (USD28) per tonne for the remainder of the decade, which may lessen renewables investment incentives.

Energy Supply

The Renewables Obligation (RO), introduced in 2002, has been the main market-based mechanism for supporting large-scale generation of renewable electricity in the UK. The RO is being replaced by Contracts for Difference (CfDs). The RO system will close to new capacity in March 2017, but facilities built under the RO scheme before that date will continue to be eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) until the scheme closes in 2037. The RO obliges licensed electricity suppliers to source a specified and annually increasing proportion of their electricity sales from renewable sources, or pay a penalty.

CfDs are long-term contracts to provide stable and predictable incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon electricity generation, including renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage. The first early CfDs (in the form of investment contracts) were signed in April 2014, and the first allocation round for CfDs under the enduring regime opened in October 2014, with the round due to end in April 2015. The first capacity auction took place in December 2014, for delivery of capacity in winter 2018-2019 (subject to state aid approval).

The 2004 Energy Act provides the framework for the development of offshore wind and other marine renewable energy sources outside territorial waters. The Act implemented commitments relating to energy efficiency, such as raising building and product standards, and created an Energy Efficiency Action Plan. The 2008 Energy Act strengthened the Renewables Obligation to increase the diversity of the electricity mix and created the Renewable Heat Incentive: allowing the Minister to establish a financial support programme for renewable heat generated anywhere, from large industrial sites to individual households. The Act created regulation that enables private sector investment in CCS projects.

The 2010 Energy Act includes provisions on introducing a new CCS Incentive to support the construction of four commercial-scale CCS demonstration projects in the UK, and the retrofit of additional CCS capacity to these projects should it be required. In August 2014 a scoping paper set out possible next steps for CCS development, including financial support for investments and supporting technical developments. It also requires the government to prepare regular reports on progress on the decarbonisation of electricity generation in Britain.

The UK Renewable Energy Strategy 2009, the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap 2011 and the 2012 and 2013 Roadmap updates outline how the UK will meet its legally binding target to ensure 15% of energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020. The 2009 Strategy also created an Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED) within DECC. The Renewable Energy Strategy introduced payment schemes to support the production of renewable heat and small-scale clean electricity generation by households, industry, businesses and communities. The Roadmap sets out key actions to support eight renewable technologies, including measures to reduce the cost of offshore wind and financial support for marine energy innovation. Since 2010, feed-in tariffs (FITs) are available for small-scale renewable electricity installed by householders, businesses and communities, even if the electricity is consumed on-site.

Several incentives exist to promote the production of biofuels. The Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme supports biomass-fuelled heat, and combined heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors in England. Additionally, a reduced excise duty rate was introduced for biodiesel in 2002 and bioethanol in 2005, set at GBP0.20 (USD0.31) lower than the rate applicable to diesel and unleaded petrol. The 2008 Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) requires transportation fuel suppliers to ensure a set percentage of their sales are from a renewable source. The Obligation also requires suppliers to publicly report on the carbon savings and sustainable production of biofuels supplied. It aligns with the EU Directive on the promotion of biofuels and renewable fuels for transportation. Regional schemes include the Energy Crop Scheme England introduced in 2000.

The government considers nuclear energy as a key part of the future energy mix with industry setting out plans to develop around 16GW of new nuclear capacity. In 2013 the Minister for Energy and Climate Change gave development planning consent for a new nuclear project in Somerset, paving the way for the construction of the first new nuclear power station for 20 years.

Energy Demand

The UK has extensive legislation and policies addressing energy efficiency and promoting a low carbon energy network. The Energy Saving Trust provides advice, information and incentives for sustainable energy use to the public. In 2001 the Carbon Trust, an independent, not-for-profit company was set up by government to promote energy efficiency in non-domestic sectors. The Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) was established in 2002, followed by the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) in 2008, which were in turn replaced by the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the “Green Deal” in 2013. The ECO and Green Deal schemes work together to promote and support the installation of energy-saving measures – they help households insulate their homes and upgrade their heating systems with low carbon alternatives. The Green Deal helps householders to understand how to use energy more efficiently, and includes the option of borrowing money to help fund the improvements, which they can pay back from savings on their energy bills.

In 2005, the government introduced measures to make all buildings more efficient, in line with the European Directive for the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). The Planning and Energy Act (2008) enables planning authorities in England and Wales to set requirements for energy use and energy efficiency in local plans and to establish their own requirements for a proportion of energy used in development plans to come from renewable sources, to be low carbon or to comply with energy efficiency standards that exceed the requirements of existing building regulations. Several regional schemes also exist, such as the HEES Wales scheme launched in 2000; it provides grants for heating and insulation improvements for owner-occupiers and for tenants.

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment), which started in 2010, aims to improve energy efficiency and cut emissions in large public and private sector organisations. The scheme puts a price on carbon emissions from energy use, incentivising participants to make savings on energy bills through improved energy efficiency. In CRC, organisations buy allowances equal to their annual emissions at a fixed price. In 2014 the government simplified the scheme, and incentivised the uptake of onsite renewable self-supplied electricity.

Additionally, the government approved funding of GBP900,000 (USD1.41m) in 2013-2014 to fund the creation of the Big Energy Saving Network, whereby energy advisers help consumers to reduce their energy costs by switching energy suppliers and taking advantage of energy efficiency offers. The government launched the 2014-2015 Big Energy Saving Network in late 2013, with £1m in funding.

In 2013 the government launched a consultation on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) to help large enterprises to identify cost-effective energy efficiency measures. The government is keen to go further to capture greater energy efficiency and published “The Energy Efficiency Opportunity in the UK” in 2012, outlining areas for further work in this area, building on the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive and existing domestic policies.

REDD+ and LULUCF

Forestry, the largest source of carbon sequestration, is a devolved matter. That is, only English forests are managed by the national government. Elsewhere responsibility rests with the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each of which has adopted targets and incentive schemes to increase forest cover. Scotland’s Rural Development Programme also includes provisions on peatland restoration. For England, targets on forest cover are contained in the 2013 Government Forestry and Woodland Policy Statement. The main UK-wide policy is the UK Woodland Carbon Code, a voluntary scheme established in 2011.

Internationally, the UK is supporting REDD+ financially as part of its broader commitment to international climate finance through the International Climate Fund.

Transportation

To meet the UK’s carbon budgets, the government supports the deployment of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs). By December 2014 over 7,000 charging points had been provided, with another 5,000 charging points provided nationally by the private sector as of June 2013. The Plug-in-Car Grant Scheme offers a grant of 25% of the vehicle price, up to a value of GBP5,000 – USD 7,834) while the Plug-in-Van Grant Scheme offers a grant of 20% of the vehicle price, up to a value of GBP8,000 (USD12,535). By September 2014 there were over 17,000 grant-funded ULEVs in the UK.

The GBP5,000 car grant incentive will continue until at least 50,000 cars have been sold or until 2017 (whichever is sooner), to be followed by annual reviews. The scope of the Plug-in-Van Grant Scheme may be broadened due to low uptake. The government will also make GBP35m (USD54.8m) available to 2 to 4 cities that are supporting ULEV adoption, GBP20m (USD31m) to incentives local authorities to support the adoption of ULEV taxi fleets, GBP30m (USD47m) to support the expansion of ULEV buses, and GBP32m (USD50m) for expanding charging infrastructure.

Adaptation
The framework for adaptation is contained in the 2008 Climate Change Act. The Act established an Adaptation Sub-Committee to the statutory Committee on Climate Change, made up of experts from the fields of climate change, science and economics, which advises the government on national adaptation matters.

The Act also requires periodic Climate Change Risk Assessments (CCRAs) the first of which was published in 2012. The report assessed the main risks and opportunities facing the UK over the 80 subsequent years, and sets out the main priorities for adaptation. The assessment distilled approximately 700 potential risks down to more than 100 for detailed review and it is due to be repeated every five years.

In 2013 the UK launched its National Adaptation Programme (NAP), a rolling process that formulates the government’s response to the risks identified in the CCRA. The NAP looks at the built environment; infrastructure; healthy and resilient communities; agriculture and forestry; natural environment; business and local government. The NAP is due to be repeated every five years, and the independent Adaptation Sub-Committee is responsible for assessing implementation.

The government has asked organisations primarily in the energy, transport and water sectors to report on the current and future predicted impacts of climate change on their organisations, and on their proposals for adapting to climate change. A first round of reporting was completed in 2012, with over 100 organisations reporting, and a second round of voluntary reporting commenced in 2013 and is due to finish in 2016.

The Water Act 2014, while not explicitly motivated by climate change issues, contains measures that contribute to climate change adaptation. These include measures to increasing resilience of water supplies to natural hazards such as droughts and floods and bringing forward measures to address the availability and affordability of insurance for households at high flood risk. The Act allows for the government to establish regulations that would require insurers to provide coverage against risks arising from flooding.

H.J. Banks & Co. v. Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government (Opened in 2018 )

Citation/reference number: CO/1731/2018
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): The legal reasoning required to deny a coal extraction project on the basis of adverse effects from associated greenhouse gas emissions
Current status: closed

H. J. Banks & Co. Ltd challenged the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for denying a planning permission for a coal mining project. The High Court quashed the denial on two grounds, including the Secretary’s inadequate explanation of how preventing…read more

Plan B Earth v. Secretary of State for Transport (Opened in 2018 )

Citation/reference number:
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Whether an approval to expand Heathrow International Airport is illegal due to inadequate consideration of climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement and advice to change national climate targets
Current status: closed

Plan B Earth, a charity with the mission to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, has filed a climate change lawsuit against the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in regards to the expansion of Heathrow International Airport. Claimants allege that the Secretary’s national policy statement supporting the expansion of…read more

Plan B Earth and Others v. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (Opened in 2017 )

Citation/reference number: Claim No. CO/16/2018
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Government’s alleged violation of the Climate Change Act 2008 for failure to revise its 2050 carbon emissions reduction target in light of the Paris Agreement and the latest science.
Current status: closed

Plan B Earth, a charity with the mission to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, has filed a climate change lawsuit against the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (Secretary of State). Plan B Earth is joined in the lawsuit by 11 citizen claimants ranging in age from…read more

Wildland Ltd. and the Welbeck Estates v. Scottish Ministers (Opened in 2017 )

Citation/reference number: [2017] CSOH 113
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Determine adequacy of justification for approval of wind farm
Current status: Decided

Petitioners asked the court to overturn the approval of a 22-turbine, 50 megawatt on-shore wind farm on the grounds that the Scottish Ministers who issued the decision failed to offer “clear and cogent” reasons for doing so in light of adverse impacts to the region’s distinctive character and wilderness areas. The petitioners emphasized that Scottish…read more

R. (Swiss International Airlines AG) v. Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy (United Kingdom Court of Appeal, 2015) (Opened in 2016 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] EWCA Civ 331
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge validity of EU decision suspending greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme for some flights to and from the European Union
Current status: Decided

The European Union temporarily suspended the greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading scheme for flights coming in and out of the EU, for the purpose of encouraging an agreement among members of the International Civil Aviation Organization to regulate aviation emissions. Flights between EU countries and Switzerland, however, were excluded from the suspension. Swiss International Airlines…read more

KS SPV35 Ltd v. Monmouthshire County Council (UK Planning Inspectorate 2015) (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] P.A.D. 52
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Permission to build solar farm
Current status: Decided

KS SPV35 Ltd. appealed the Monmouthshire County Council’s rejection of its application to install a solar farm near an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (“AONB”). The Planning Inspector overturned the Council’s decision after considering arguments that the slightly revised plan for a solar farm would result in a loss of natural green space or harm…read more

North Cote Farms Ltd v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Planning Court, 2015) (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] EWHC 292
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of rejection of permit to build a wind turbine generator that would impact the setting of a designated heritage asset in the vicinity
Current status: Decided

A local planning inspector in England denied an application to construct a wind turbine generator that would negatively affect Carnaby Temple, a nearby heritage asset. The applicant appealed, complaining in particular that the planning inspector improperly considered the effect the wind turbine would have on the view from the Temple, despite the fact that the…read more

Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited and The Trump Organization LLC v. Scottish Ministers (First Division, Inner House, Court Of Session, 2015) (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] CSIH 46
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of decision upholding approval of 11 turbine wind farm near golf course and resort
Current status: Decided

The Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited (“AOWFL”) applied for permission to build and operate an 11 turbine wind farm off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism granted consent to build the wind farm without holding a public inquiry. Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited and the Trump Organization…read more

Bellis v. Merthyr Tydfill County Borough Council (Planning Inspectorate, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] P.A.D. 50
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Proposed construction of wind turbines within a Historic Landscape Area
Current status: Decided

A local planning authority in Wales denied an application to construct 3 wind turbine generators in a Historic Landscape Area, and the applicant appealed. The administrative court found that the proposed wind turbines would have a significantly detrimental effect on the historic landscape and would detract from the enjoyment of visitors to the area. The…read more

CF Partners (UK) LLP v. Barclays Bank PLC (High Court of Justice Chancery Division of the United Kingdom, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] EWHC 3049
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Seeking compensation for breach of equitable duties
Current status: Settled/Withdrawn

CF Partners (UK) LLP (“CFP”) approached Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”) seeking financing and advice to enable CFP to acquire Tricorona AB (“Tricorona”), a company operating in the carbon credits market and holding a large portfolio of Certified Emissions Reductions (“CERs”). Subsequently, Barclays and Tricorona used information gained from their relationship with CFP to arrange for…read more

Lark Energy Ltd v. Secretary for State for Communities (High Court of Justice Queen Bench Division, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] EWHC 200
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal refusal of a permit to build solar farm
Current status: Decided

Lark Energy Limited challenged the decision of the Secretary for State Communities (Secretary) to dismiss its appeal of the refusal of the District Council to grant planning permission for the installation of a 24 MW solar farm. Lark Energy had been granted a permit for a 14 MW solar array but then appealed to increase…read more

Pugh v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Planning Court, 2015) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] EWHC 3
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of permit to build a wind turbine generator that would impact the settings of Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings in the vicinity
Current status: Decided

A local planning authority in England denied an application to construct one wind turbine generator that would negatively affect nearby heritage assets. The applicant appealed, and the Planning Inspector reversed the local authority’s decision on the basis that “the benefits of the scheme, including the public benefits to be derived from tackling climate change out…read more

Regina v. Dosanjh (Court of Appeal, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] EWCA Crim 2366
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenging criminal sentence for cheating the EU ETS
Current status: Decided

The defendants were involved in manipulation of the EU Emissions Trade Scheme, running companies that formed two artificial ‘trading chains’ through which the fraud was operated. They were convicted of the common law offense of conspiring to cheat the public revenue and sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 15 years, 11 years and 9 years,…read more

Solar Century Holdings Ltd v. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] EWHC 3677
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge discontinuance of a renewable energy support scheme based on financial considerations
Current status: Decided

Four solar energy companies challenged a decision of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (the “Secretary”) to discontinue a renewable energy support scheme. The support scheme provided financial incentives for the creation of generation capacity from renewable sources, in line with the United Kingdom’s goal to combat climate change by decreasing greenhouse…read more

Castletown Estates Ltd, Carmarthenshire County Council v. Welsh Ministers (United Kingdom, High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] EWHC 3293
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge planning permit denial
Current status: Decided

Claimants challenged the decision by the Welsh Ministers to refuse to grant a planning permit for a mixed-use redevelopment, alleging that the Ministers used inaccurate flood and development advice maps to assess the risk of flooding. At issue was the precautionary approach employed by the Minister to take into account climate change to assess future…read more

In the Matter of An Application by Brian Quinn and Michael Quinn (The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] NIQB 24
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Seeking judicial review of a refusal to permit their request to develop a renewable energy wind-farm on their lands.
Current status: Decided

The applicants were brothers who owned lands in Northern Ireland. They sought judicial review of a Planning Commissioner’s refusal to permit their request to develop a renewable energy wind-farm on their lands. The permit process was based on a balancing exercise weighing the wider environmental, economic and social benefits of a project against its adverse…read more

Macarthur v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] EWHC 3
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge planning permission for the construction of two wind farms
Current status: Decided

Petitioners challenged the local council’s denial of planning applications for the construction of two wind farms on the grounds that the harm from visual and character impacts outweighed the proposals’ modest contribution to climate change mitigation. The Inspector heard the appeals jointly and overturned the council’s decisions. Taking into account recently adopted policy schemes that…read more

Newark & Sherwood District Council v. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] EWHC 2162
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge planning permission for the construction of a wind turbine
Current status: Decided

Residents challenged an Inspector decision granting planning permissions for the installation of a wind turbine. The Inspector had found that the benefits of renewable energy production and benefits to the rural economy outweighed the harm of “inappropriate development.” The court upheld the Inspector’s decision, finding that the Inspector’s reasoning was acceptable despite the limited energy…read more

R. on the application of Corbett v. Cornwall Council (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] EWHC 3958
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge the permit approval for the construction of a wind farm
Current status: Decided

Local council granted approval for the construction of a wind farm despite visual landscape impacts because of the need for renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Local residents and others challenged the permit alleging that revocation of a policy document required the local council to reconsider its approval. The court dismissed the appeal…read more

Sustainable Shetland v. Scottish Minister (Outer House, Court of Session, 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] CSIH 60
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge approval of permit to construct a wind farm
Current status: Decided

Sustainable Shetland challenged the Scottish Minister’s approval of an application by Viking Energy for the construction and operation of a 457 megawatt Wind Farm on a number of grounds. In granting the application, the Scottish Ministers had determined that that the advantages of meeting renewable energy and climate change goals and economic impacts outweighed negative…read more

Armstrong DLW GmbH v. Winnington Networks Ltd (High Court of England and Wales, 2012, EWHC 10) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] EWHC 10
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): To determine the legal status of European Union Allowances (EUAs) under English law.
Current status: Decided

Under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), European Union Allowances (EUAs) are now classified as intangible property under English law. As a result of a fraudulent sale to Winnington of EUAs belonging to Armstrong, it was necessary to determine, among other things, their status under law. To determine the status of EUAs, the Court…read more

Chelveston Renewable Energy Ltd v. Bedford Borough Council (Planning Inspector Decision, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] P.A.D. 39
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge proposed construction of wind turbines
Current status: Decided

Local residents challenged two proposals for the construction of wind turbines, arguing that the harms outweighed the economic or environmental benefits. The Planning Inspector found that the proposals would provide significant benefits including renewable energy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and the potential to generate economic growth and create jobs. The Inspector found that these benefits…read more

Deutsche Bank AG v. Total Global Steel Ltd. (High Court of England and Wales, 2012 EWHC 1201) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] EWHC 1201
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Dispute over sale of ‘surrendered’ Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs)
Current status: Decided

Deutsche Bank (DB) sued Total Global Steel (TGS) for breach of contract for the sale of Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), instruments created under the Kyoto Protocol to measure and limit greenhouse gas emissions under the European Union Emissions Trading System (EUETS). The CERs DB purchased from TGS had previously been “surrendered,” or used to demonstrate…read more

E.ON UK Development Ltd v. King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council (Planning Inspector Decision, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] P.A.D. 29
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge approval for the construction of wind turbines
Current status: Decided

The Planning Inspector reviewed approvals for the construction of two wind farms. Local residents argued that harms outweighed the economic or environmental benefits. The Planning Inspector found that the wind farms would have adverse effects on the landscape character, cause visual harm, have a minor impact on heritage, and result in minor displacement of species.…read more

Jarrett v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] EWHC 3642
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Application to quash decision approving construction of wind turbine
Current status: Decided

Community members challenged an Inspector’s decision to overturn the refusal of an application to erect a wind turbine. The applicants alleged that the Inspector had violated the Local Development Plan by allowing the project despite “significant adverse impact on recognized environmental assets.” The Inspector had found that while the proposed turbine would have a harmful…read more

Keiller v. Information Commissioner (EA/2011/0152). (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: EA/2011/0152
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Disclosure of an e-mail
Current status: Decided

A request was made to the University of East Anglia for the release of a copy of an email. The email attached information that was being used to support a claim that academics from the University had manipulated data to support arguments for climate change. The Information Commissioner initially ruled that, as the email had…read more

Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change v. Friends of the Earth & Others (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] EWCA Civ 28
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): The Secretary of State appealed a parlimentary decision that a proposed modification to a law conducted was unlawful.
Current status: Decided

In April 2010, the secretary of state for energy and climate change introduced a scheme to encourage the installation of generators for small-scale, low-carbon electricity generation (the scheme), including solar panels. The scheme required licensed electricity suppliers to pay a sum of money per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by such systems to the installer (the…read more

Veolia v. Shropshire City Council (Planning Inspectorate Decision, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: APP/L3245/A/11/2146219
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Veolia sought planning permission for an energy-from-waste facility as an extension to an existing recycling center in Shropshire, England
Current status: Decided

On appeal, planning permission was granted for a waste to energy facility as an extension to an existing recycling center in Shropshire, England. In response to appellant’s planning application and environmental statement, submitted in 2009, a number of rejections were made and the Shropshire County Council denied the application. The benefits versus the harms of…read more

Hertfordshire County Council v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] EWHC 1572; [2012] EWCA Civ 1473
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge permissions for urban expansion project
Current status: Decided

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (“Secretary”) granted planning permission for urban expansion. The development site was partially within the area of two other councils who objected to the permission. Among other concerns, the councils alleged that the Secretary failed to consider the interim policy “Carbon Dioxide and Energy Performance” (ENG1), which requires…read more

R. on the application of Griffin v. Newham London Borough Council (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] EWHC 53
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): To challenge local council decision granting consent to increased flights
Current status: Decided

Fight the Fights, an unincorporated local resident group challenged the decision of the Newham London Borough Council to grant consent to increase the number of flights permitted per year at the London City Airport because of concerns regarding impact on local residents and increased greenhouse gas emissions. The resident group challenged the consent on two…read more

R. on the application of Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd v. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Court of Appeal, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] EWHC 2752
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge allocation of renewable energy subsidy claiming unfair and discriminatory
Current status: Decided

Tate & Lyle requested judicial review of their allocation of 1.0 Renewables Obligations Certificates (ROC) for the use of co-firing of biomass with combined heat power (CHP) arguing that they should have received 1.5 ROC. Prior to suit, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change had discovered an error in its prediction of…read more

RWE Npower Renewables v. East Lindsey DC (Planning Inspectorate Decision, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: APP/D2510/A/10/2130539
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal by Npower Renewables requesting planning permission for a six-turbine wind farm in Lincolnshire
Current status: Decided

An appeal by Npower Renewables requesting planning permission for a six-turbine wind farm in Lincolnshire, England was dismissed. Npower submitted an environmental statement (ES) with its 2006 application, and the Inspector recognized that the project would lead to a reduction in GHG emissions. However, the Inspector found that this project would have an “industrializing effect…read more

Grainger Plc. & Others v. Mr T Nicholson (Employment Appeal Tribunal, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] ICR 360
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge employment tribunal finding that belief in climate change falls under employment regulations
Current status: Decided

Respondent company appealed the Employment Tribunal’s finding that the belief in climate change was a protected belief under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. Mr. Nicholson filed an employment discrimination claim alleging that his employer terminated him due to his belief in catastrophic climate change. He argued that his belief in climate change…read more

R. (on the application of the London Borough of Hillingdon & Others) v. Secretary of State for Transport (Queen’s Bench Division, High Court, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2010] EWHC 626; [2017] EWHC 121 (Admin)
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Coalition sought judicial review of government plans on airport expansion
Current status: Decided

On March 26, 2010, a British high court ordered government officials to consider the implications of climate change prior to making any final decision on a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport. The court ruled that the government had failed to adequately review all environmental and economic issues, and that the aviation policy should probably…read more

Barbone and Ross (on behalf of Stop Stansted Expansion) v. Secretary of State for Transport (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] EWHC 463
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Citizen challenge to proposed airport expansion  
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom court dismisses an application by the “Stop Stansted Expansion” group challenging the grant of planning permission relating to the increase in capacity of Stansted Airport under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Plaintiffs claimed that the government had, inter alia, failed to take into account the project’s effects on greenhouse gas…read more

Bard Campaign v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] EWHC 308
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge designation process for “ecotowns”
Current status: Decided

Claimants opposed the designation of two locations as proposed “ecotowns.” These designations were part of a larger government campaign to establish a number of ecotowns as exemplar green developments to serve as models of best practices in urban sustainability and climate change resilience. Claimants challenged the designations asserting that the designation process lacked sufficient public…read more

R (People & Planet) v. HM Treasury (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] EWHC 3020
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Sought judicial review of HM Treasury decision to invest public monies with RBS
Current status: Decided

Campaigners from the World Development Movement, PLATFORM, and People & Planet brought suit against the United Kingdom Treasury for its lack of adequate environmental and human rights considerations in investing with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). RBS has allegedly used public monies to finance several controversial companies and projects that undermine the UK’s commitment…read more

Re Application of Littlewood v. Bassetlaw DC (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] EWHC 1812
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Sought judicial review of local authority's grant of planning permission to a developer.
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom court upheld the grant of planning permission for a project which included a pre-case concrete manufacturing facility. A local resident challenged the district council’s decision, citing failure to consider the adverse impacts of the proposed facility on climate change, in particular, from carbon dioxide emissions. The court held that the omission of…read more

The Kingsnorth Six Trial (Maidstone Crown Court, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [no citation available]
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Criminal suit against protesters for trespassing and causing damage to a power station
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom trial court acquitted climate change activists of causing criminal damage at a coal-fired power station. Six Greenpeace activists attempted to shut down the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent by scaling the chimney and painting the Prime Minister’s name down the side. The defendants argued that by shutting down the coal plant…read more

Bradford v. West Devon Borough Council (Planning Inspector Decision, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] P.A.D. 45
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

Farmers appealed the refusal of planning permission for two wind turbines. The Planning Inspector affirmed the local council’s decision, citing the proposal’s adverse effects on surrounding landscapes and the residential amenities of nearby occupiers. The Inspector acknowledged the importance of the need to combat global warming, but concluded that this policy goal must be balanced…read more

Greenpeace v. Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] EWHC 311
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge to consultation process for government report into construction of new nuclear power plants
Current status: Decided

The Judgment relates to a 12-month consultation process announced in November 2005 by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry regarding the Government’s review of its policy with respect to nuclear power stations. Greenpeace was among the parties that made submissions during the consultation. Despite many submissions against nuclear energy, the Secretary of State…read more

Heathrow Airport Ltd. & Another v. Joss Garman & Others (Queen’s Bench Division, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] EWHC 1957
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Request for injunction against environmental activists attempting to disrupt the operations of an airport
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom court granted injunctive relief to control a probable campaign of direct action and civil disobedience by environmental activists in the immediate vicinity of a UK airport. Environmental groups were planning to organize a climate change awareness/action event, likely to attract thousands of activists, in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow Airport. The court…read more

Stuart Dimmock v. Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] EWHC 2288
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge to government decision to show film on global warming in schools 
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom Court upheld Secretary of State’s decision to distribute Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” to English state schools as a teaching aid. Claimant parent challenged the government’s decision to distribute the film on global warming as amounting to the promotion of partisan political views in violation of the Education Act of 1996.…read more

Yelland Wind Farm Ltd. v. West Devon Borough Council (Planning Inspector Decision, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] P.A.D. 13
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

Yelland Wind Farm Ltd. appealed a decision by the West Devon Borough Council refusing planning permission for a proposal to build three 266 feet high wind turbines on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. The Planning Inspector dismissed the appeal, finding the proposal’s adverse landscape and visual impacts to be decisive. However, the court did…read more

Cemex UK Cement Ltd v. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, 2006) (Opened in 2006 )

Citation/reference number: [2006] EWHC 3207
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge to new commission rule under the United Kingdom National Allocation Plan
Current status: Decided

A United Kingdom court dismissed an action by a cement company, which asserted that a change in the commissioning rule during Phase II of the National Allocation Plan (NAP) seriously disadvantaged one of its plants, violating the principle of equity. The court held that there was inevitably an element of "rough justice" in the commissioning…read more

Laughton Wind Farm Ltd. v. West Lindsey DC (Planning Inspector Decision, 2006) (Opened in 2006 )

Citation/reference number: [2006] P.A.D. 37
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

Laughton Wind Farm Ltd. appealed a decision by the West Lindsey Borough Council refusing planning permission for a proposal to build ten wind turbines. The Planning Inspector concluded that the proposed wind farm would have an unacceptably substantial impact upon the local landscape and visual amenity of the local area, especially since the turbines would…read more

Rockware Glass Ltd. v. Chester City Council (Administrative Court, High Court of Justice 2005) (Opened in 2005 )

Citation/reference number: [2005] EWHC 2250; [2010] EWCA Civ 172
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge to the granting of an IPPC permit
Current status: Decided

A Planning Pollution Control License was challenged by a commercial rival. The court upheld a decision quashing an integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) permit granted to operate an industrial plant for the manufacture of glassware since the purpose of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 was to control pollution by…read more

Goldfinch (Projects) Ltd. v. National Assembly for Wales (Queen’s Bench Division, 2002) (Opened in 2002 )

Citation/reference number: [2002] EWHC 1275
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge denial of planning permit due to flood risks
Current status: Decided

Claimant appealed the denial of planning permit for a residential development where a similar proposed development was approved for the same property by the previous landowner. The inspector had denied the permit on the basis that: (1) the proposal did not conform with sustainable development objectives contained in new national guidance and local policies; and…read more

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council v. Secretary of State for the Environment Transport & Regions (High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, 2001) (Opened in 2001 )

Citation/reference number: [2001] EWHC Admin 587
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Challenge approval of permit for construction of a residential development due to flood risks
Current status: Decided

The local planning authority challenged an Inspector’s approval of a permit application for a residential development. Claimant argued that the application should have been denied because the development would have adverse effects in terms of flooding. After negotiations, it was proposed that compensatory flood storage would be provided. The inspector considered flooding in the context…read more

Allerdale Borough Council v. Cumbria Wind Farms Ltd. (Planning Inspector Decision, 2000) (Opened in 2000 )

Citation/reference number: [2000] 15 P.A.D. 833
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

Cumbria Wind Farms Ltd. appealed local council decision refusing planning permission for the erection of six wind turbines near a national park. The Planning Inspector affirmed the local council’s decision, concluding that the adverse visual effects in this particular case outweigh the need for renewable energy. Although the proposal tangibly contributes to the government’s targets…read more

City of Bradford Metropolitan Council v. Feather (Planning Inspector Decision, 1995) (Opened in 1995 )

Citation/reference number: [1995] 10 P.A.D. 267
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

A building and construction company appealed a local council failure to determine within the prescribed period an application for the erection of three wind turbine generators, an electrical sub-station, and cables at a quarry in Haworth, West Yorkshire. On appeal, the Planning Inspector acknowledged the contribution that wind energy generation would make in this case…read more

City of Bradford Metropolitan Council v. Gillson & Sons (Planning Inspector Decision, 1995) (Opened in 1995 )

Citation/reference number: [1995] 10 P.A.D. 255
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

A building and construction company appealed a local council failure to determine within the prescribed period an application for permission to erect three wind turbines at a quarry in Haworth, West Yorkshire. On appeal, the Planning Inspector concluded that the contribution that 2,500 kW turbines would make to the national energy supply in achievement of…read more

City of Bradford Metropolitan Council v. Woodhead & Sons Ltd. (Planning Inspector Decision, 1995) (Opened in 1995 )

Citation/reference number: [1995] 10 P.A.D. 243
Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
Core objective(s): Appeal of local council decision denying planning permission for wind turbines
Current status: Decided

A building and construction company appealed a local council failure to determine within a prescribed period an application for the erection of eight wind turbines. On appeal, the Planning Inspector acknowledged that the production capacity of the turbines would provide a material contribution to the supply of renewable energy in accordance with government policy, but…read more

Parliament is the centre of the political system in the United Kingdom. It is the supreme legislative body and the government is drawn from and answerable to Parliament. Parliament is bicameral, consisting of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Draft bills are issued for consultation before being formally introduced to Parliament. A bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law that is presented for debate before Parliament. Bills are introduced in either the House of Commons or House of Lords for examination, discussion and amend­ment. When both Houses have agreed on the content of a bill, it is presented to the monarch for Royal Assent. Once Royal Assent is given, a bill becomes an Act of Parliament and is law. An Act of Parliament creates a new law or changes an existing law.

Government White Papers set out details of future policy on a particular subject. They allow the government to gather feedback before it formally presents the policies as a bill. The last general election was in May 2015. The next election is scheduled to take place in 2020. Seats in the House of Lords are unelected appointments, and are a mix of lifetime appointments and hereditary peerages.

Due to the devolution of policy making, the administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are individually responsible for implementing some aspects of UK climate change strategy. However, this chapter focuses on legislation passed by Parliament and policies proposed by the UK government.

Last modified 31 August, 2017