Supreme Court ruling in the case of Finch v Surrey County Council

The Supreme Court has today (20 June 2024) given judgment in the case of Finch v Surrey County Council & Others. This case concerns the correct application of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process to assessing the ‘downstream’ greenhouse gas emissions from new oil development.

A majority of the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, holding that an EIA must assess the downstream effects on climate from combustion of the oil produced.

The OEP intervened in this case before the Supreme Court. We did so to seek legal clarity and to make submissions on the interpretation of the law in this area. We did not take sides between the parties on the particular facts of this case.

Our public statement on making that intervention can be found here. Our written submissions in the case can be found here.

This was the first time the OEP has intervened in a court case. We are pleased that by doing so we were able to be of assistance to the Supreme Court. We note that the judges state, in their majority judgment, that they “found particularly helpful [the] submissions made by the Office for Environmental Protection”.

Please note – the Supreme Court judgement can be found here.