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Packham files legal challenge against Sunak's weakening of key climate policies

CHRIS PACKHAM has filed a High Court challenge against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to weaken key climate policies.

The broadcaster and environmental campaigner has applied for a judicial review of the government’s decision to ditch the timetable for phasing out petrol- and diesel-powered cars and vans, gas boilers, off-grid fossil fuel domestic heating and minimum energy ratings for homes.

The measures and their schedule had been set out in the government’s carbon budget delivery plan, which was put before Parliament in March.

But In September, Mr Sunak said among changes he would set back the ban on selling new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 to 2035 and that 20 per cent of households will be exempt from a new gas boiler ban. Justifying his reversal, he argued that he does not want to burden ordinary people with the costs.

Following the announcement, Mr Packham argued the PM does not have the legal right to change the timeline of carbon budget pledges at will since the actioning of the delivery plan is governed by statute.

The grounds for his judicial review include obligations under various sections of the Climate Change Act, he said.

Mr Packham explained: “We are in a crisis which threatens the whole world, everything living is in danger, including all of us.

“We have the potential to reduce that threat, we have the solutions and we have plans and targets. We must not divert from these.

“To do so on a whim for short-term political gain is reckless and betrays a disregard for the future security of the planet.”

The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero said it rejects Mr Packham’s claims and will robustly defend the challenge.

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