Climate Campaigners Defeated As UK High Court Approves Biggest Gas Power Station In Europe

  • Date: 23/05/20
  • The Guardian

High court rejects challenge after ministers overruled climate objections of planning officials

Drax is planning to build new combined cycle gas turbine generating units in North Yorkshire. Photograph: Drax Group

The UK government’s approval of a large new gas-fired power plant has been ruled legal by the high court. A legal challenge was brought after ministers overruled climate change objections from planning authorities.

The plant, which is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire, would be the biggest gas power station in Europe, and could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to lawyers for ClientEarth, which brought the judicial review.

The planning inspectorate recommended that ministers refuse permission for the 3.6GW gas plant because it “would undermine the government’s commitment, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, to cut greenhouse emissions” by having “significant adverse effects”.

It was the first big project rejected by planners because of the climate crisis. However, Andrea Leadsom, who was secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy at the time of the planning application, rejected the advice and gave the go-ahead in October.

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