Dale Vince launches legal challenge against UK Government over withdrawal of active travel guidance
By Law News
Green advocate Dale Vince contests the government's removal of active travel guidance, citing climate concerns
Dale Vince, renowned for his environmental advocacy as the founder of Ecotricity, has initiated a legal battle against the UK government's decision to rescind the 'Network Management to Support Active Travel' statutory guidance. The move, described as a "culture war virtue signal" by Vince, has stirred controversy over its impact on sustainable transportation measures in England.
The withdrawn guidance, introduced in 2020 under the Traffic Management Act 2004, aimed to bolster walking and cycling initiatives, vital during the COVID-19 pandemic for health protection and pollution reduction. Updated in 2022, the guidance aligned with climate and air quality targets, complementing the government's 'Gear Change' strategy to promote cycling and walking.
However, in a contentious move last October, the government withdrew the guidance, unveiling a 'Plan for Drivers' instead. Vince criticized this shift as detrimental, emphasizing the pivotal role of walking and cycling in curbing air pollution and addressing the climate crisis.
Represented by law firm Leigh Day, Vince's legal challenge asserts that the withdrawal was unjustified and jeopardizes the fight against climate change. The claim argues that axing the guidance lacked legitimate reasons under the Traffic Management Act 2004 and flouted existing policies aiming to enhance air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
The grounds for judicial review highlight various aspects, including claims that axing the guidance preempted a review into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), lacked public consultation, and undermined efficient traffic movement.
Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith emphasized the importance of protecting all modes of transportation and maintaining support for cleaner travel options to meet air quality targets and carbon budgets.
Dale Vince's commitment to environmental sustainability is longstanding, with a track record including founding Ecotricity, the world's pioneer green energy company in 1996. His advocacy efforts earned him recognition, including an OBE for environmental services and an appointment as the UN Ambassador for Climate Change in 2019.
As Vince pushes forward with legal action, his aim is to challenge the government's decision, ensuring that active travel initiatives and environmental sustainability remain at the forefront of policy considerations. For further information, contact Leigh Day's press office or Ecotricity's head of communication, Ciaran Naidoo.