The Paid to Pollute group formed by climate activists have sued the Government for the public money it wastes on the fossil fuel industry in the North Sea. They have applied for Judicial Review in the High Court, challenging the lawfulness of the UK Oil and Gas Authority’s 2016 Economic Recovery Strategy.
According to the Claimants, the policy disregarded that the £3.2bn paid to oil and gas companies like Shell and BP in the form of subsidies constituted in fact public money. The subsidies were significantly higher than those of other countries, and the money was never recovered, as fossil fuel companies pay the UK very little in tax. Moreover, by continuing to support the North Sea oil and gas companies, the Strategy conflicted with the Government’s legal duty to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The Judicial Review application for the lawfulness of the Strategy was approved by the High Court and will be heard later this year. In light of recent decisions supporting climate activists in the Dutch and Belgian courts, it is likely this will influence the High Court to decide for the Claimants in the fight against climate change.