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20 Jun 2024

Michael Holden, Reuters

UK: Supreme Court rules emissions must be considered in oil well approval

"Environmental activists win landmark ruling over UK oil well plan," 20 June 2024

Planning authorities should have considered the impact of climate-warming emissions in approving an oil well near Gatwick Airport, the UK's highest court said on Thursday, a ruling activists say could profoundly impact new fossil fuel projects in Britain.

Environmental campaigners had argued that planning permission to retain and expand the oil well site near London's Gatwick was flawed because it had not considered the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of the oil.

Supreme Court judges agreed by a narrow three to two majority, and quashed the planning approval which they said was unlawful...

"This historic ruling is a watershed moment in the fight to stop further fossil fuel extraction projects in the UK and make the emissions cuts needed to meet crucial climate targets," Friends of the Earth lawyer Katie de Kauwe said...

"Oil and gas companies will be working through the judgment to assess to what extent it affects future projects in the UK, and existing challenges before the courts, which had been stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision," Tom Cummins (NYSE:CMI), partner at law firm Ashurst...

The government said it would carefully consider the impact of the ruling and any relevance for other ongoing legal proceedings.

...[A] legal challenge against the planning approval... was rejected both by the High Court in London and then by the Court of Appeal.

However, the Supreme Court overruled...