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Campaign group Uplift promise legal action over Rosebank licence

At 7:35am today, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero email arrived, trumpeting the approval of the Rosebank field, the UK’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field off the coast of Shetland. 

At 7:51 another arrived, a statement from Tessa Khan at Uplift: ‘By approving Rosebank, Rishi Sunak has confirmed he couldn’t care less about climate change. As we’ve heard repeatedly, our world can no longer sustain new oil and gas drilling. And when we’re witnessing scorching temperatures, wildfires, devastating flooding and heatwaves in our seas, it could not be clearer that this is a decision by the Prime Minister to add more fuel to the fire.’

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She continued: ‘Rosebank will do nothing to lower fuel bills or boost UK energy security. Most of this oil will be shipped abroad and then sold back to us at whatever price makes the oil and gas industry the most profit. People in the UK overwhelmingly support moving to cheaper, cleaner renewable energy.

‘This government should be prioritising making sure no pensioner, or family with small children is living in a cold, damp home this winter, not handing billions in tax breaks to obscenely wealthy foreign companies.’

Two hours later, Uplift tell us that they have written to the Secretary of State and the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the regulator partly responsible for the decision, stating that it has strong grounds to believe that the approval of Rosebank is unlawful.

‘Uplift notes the incompatibility of Rosebank’s development with the UK’s climate targets; a potential failure to assess the environmental impacts created by burning Rosebank’s oil; the marine environmental impacts of the field; and a potential failure to ensure a transparent and participatory decision-making process.’

The challenge from Uplift comes just days after The Good Law Project announced they had written to Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho, to let her know that they are considering a challenge to the Government’s ‘backsliding on Net Zero’ in the High Court. They are also keen to know how the Government expects to fulfill its legally-binding duty to meet upcoming carbon budgets ‘whilst weakening its commitment on key green policies’.

Analysis by Uplift shows that emissions from Rosebank, when combined with already producing fields, would push the UK’s oil and gas industry beyond agreed UK emissions reduction targets. 

Rosebank’s development would also see a pipeline laid through a protected area of the North Sea: the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt, potentially harming this fragile and significant ecosystem and the diverse marine life it supports.

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Frank Sinclair
Frank Sinclair
7 months ago

This shows that money rules. This government is short sighted and extremely stupid!

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