The Claimant sought to challenge the Food Strategy adopted by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on grounds including breach of section 13 of the Climate Change Act 2008 and failure to take into account and give reasons for departing from advice of the Committee on Climate Change.
Mrs Justice Lang accepted that it is the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“SSBEIS”) who holds the duty under section 13 of the CCA (to prepare proposals and policies that the Secretary of State considers will enable the Carbon Budgets to be met). The judge accepted that carbon budgets comprise a single figure, which is not divided on sectoral lines. As such, she held that only the SSBEIS is able to consider the whole duty under section 13.
The judge further agreed that section 13 does not arguably require the SSBEIS to assess specific sectorial proposals or policies and their contribution to meeting overall carbon budgets at the point at which they are adopted by other Secretary of States, because the Climate change Act 2008 would have used express language had this effect been intended.
This case forms part of a series of climate change litigation starting with the net zero strategy case and which includes an ongoing challenge to the net zero strategy on similar grounds. Although only a permission hearing, it provides useful analysis as to the scope of the section 13 duties.
Mark Westmoreland Smith acted for the Secretary of State.