Friends of the Earth challenges government planning rules in the High Court

18th December 2018
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Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth are challenging the government’s National Planning Policy Framework in the High Court tomorrow (18 December). The group argues that the framework was unlawfully adopted without any regard to environmental impacts and is concerned over the risks the framework poses to our climate and environment.

The planning rules, released in July, inform or direct all community planning decisions across the country – from home building to green belt protection – but no strategic environmental assessment of the framework was ever undertaken, which Friends of the Earth will argue makes it unlawful.

Through today’s High Court action Friends of the Earth wants to force the government to undertake a strategic environmental assessment of the framework, consult the public and modify the framework based on those findings.

Will Rundle, Friends of the Earth Head of Legal, said:

“The government’s national planning framework, which directs development in every single community in England, has never been environmentally assessed. This makes a mockery of the government’s green credentials and undermines sustainable development.

“In reality, the government simply does not know how much damage its national flag-ship planning policy could cause.

“The government’s failure to undertake any environmental assessment of its national planning policy, not only dangerously threatens our already warming climate and is, we believe unlawful, but shows contempt for people and planet.”

A strategic environmental assessment of the framework could help identify different approaches to better achieve the UK’s climate emission targets: e.g. more support for onshore wind turbines, or more support for carbon neutral homes.