Legal Victory in the High Court
On the 18th March 2008 the High Court ruled that a Government department must hand over information about a controversial oil and gas project to Friends of the Earth.
In March 2005 Friends of the Earth's Legal Team asked the Government for copies of internal government communications about the Sakhalin oil and gas project. The Government refused to give this information.
The companies involved, led by Shell, had applied for more than $600 million financing from the UK's Export Credits Guarantee Department for oil and gas exploration off the north-east coast of Sakhalin, a Russian island north of Japan.
The project was the subject of a long term campaign by Friends Of the Earth and other environmental groups because of its huge climate change implications. It was also feared that the development would result in the world's last remaining Western Grey Whales becoming extinct.
Last summer the Information Tribunal found in favour of Friends Of the Earth and ordered the Export Credits Guarantee Department to release all of the information to Friends Of the Earth. The Government then appealed to the High Court and lost with the result that the information must be released to Friends of the Earth.
This was the first case under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to reach the High Court.
For more information about this case read our press release