We're in a climate crisis, and we need to reduce our carbon emissions. It's clear that new fossil fuel developments, including extracting new oil, coal and gas that will add more emissions to the atmosphere, aren't compatible with tackling climate change.
That's why we're fighting planned new coal, oil and gas developments across the 3 nations of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We're supporting local communities, and with help from our legal team together we're taking cases to court to challenge the approval of these new fossil-fuel projects.
Our legal arguments for Whitehaven and Horse Hill include that these planning decisions need to take into account the carbon emissions that will result when these fuels are burnt, rather than just the emissions when they're extracted.
Whitehaven coal mine
The first new coal mine in the UK in over 30 years was approved in December 2022.
We've launched a legal challenge against the decision. The High Court has agreed to a 3-day hearing from 24 to 26 October 2023, after seeing our written evidence. Our arguments include the application not taking into account the full climate emissions from burning the coal, the international impact of the decision and the lack of demand for the coal.
Horse Hill oil development
We're also going to court to appeal the decision by Surrey County Council to allow drilling for oil at Horse Hill, together with local campaigners Weald Action Group.
We're arguing that the emissions from burning the oil should have been considered, not just emissions from the oil drilling itself.
The decision from this case, being heard in June 2023, could have an impact on the Whitehaven coal mine case and all future planning applications for oil and gas extraction.
No Gas Caverns in Northern Ireland
7 huge underground caverns are planned to be excavated under Larne Lough, for storing gas. They'd make a hypersaline "dead-zone" in a marine protected area, where no animals or plants could survive.
We're supporting local campaigning group No Gas Caverns and taking a case to the High Court in Belfast. For the first time the courts are considering how new fossil-fuel developments relate to the Northern Ireland Climate Change Act 2022, which we successfully campaigned for.
No more mining at Ffos y Fran
Ffos y Fran, UK's largest opencast mine, is to close after councillors unanimously decided to reject an application to continue mining until March 2024.
This decision in April 2023 follows years of campaigning by Merthyr Tydfil Friends of the Earth and other local community groups.
The Welsh Government has recently made strong statements that further fossil fuel extraction isn’t compatible with our climate change targets.