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Environment

Rosebank: Emergency protests planned after new North Sea oil field given go-ahead

The oil field, off the coast of the Shetland Islands, could produce 200million tonnes of carbon dioxide

Rosebank

The government says new oil and gas projects will leave the country less reliant on foreign energy. Image: Unsplash

Emergency protests are set to take place after the Rosebank North Sea oil and gas project was given the go-ahead by regulators.

Located off the coast of the Shetland Islands, the oil field contains 500 million barrels of oil and could produce 200 million tonnes of CO2.

The move comes as Rishi Sunak said in his net-zero U-turn that a ban on new North Sea oil and gas “would simply leave us reliant on expensive, imported energy from foreign dictators like Putin”, while Keir Starmer has said he would not revoke newly-granted licenses.

Campaign group Fossil Free London called an emergency protest, adding to a series of rallies that have taken place against the project, including one in June attended by Greta Thunberg.

“Now all Rishi Sunak’s anti-net zero posturing makes sense. Approving Rosebank is a sickening failure,” said Joanna Warrington of Fossil Free London.

“He, and this government, have failed us by refusing to take the era of global boiling with the grave seriousness it deserves; and failing to take much needed action towards energy security and fighting unpayable energy bills. 

“New export-ready oil and gas that gets sold internationally is a disaster. What we need is bold action – renewables and rapid home improvements to insulate this country.”

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Green Party MP Caroline Lucas disputed the government’s claims that approving the Rosebank oil field will increase the UK’s energy security.

“This is morally obscene. It won’t improve energy security or lower bills – but it will shatter our climate commitments & demolish global leadership,” Lucas said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Government is complicit in this climate crime – as is Labour unless they pledge to do all possible to revoke it.”

A protest will take place outside the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero from 11am to 1pm.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the subsidies being given to Norwegian operator Equinor could be better used to support struggling families.

Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented: “Hidden in the small print of the deal is that this project can only go ahead thanks to a massive tax break the government is giving to international oil and gas giant Equinor. 

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“Households struggling with their energy bills will be shocked that the new Energy Secretary has chosen to hand a multi-billion pound tax break to this Norwegian firm, rather than help people in the UK suffering in fuel poverty. 

“This sum alone could have provided much needed additional support to help disabled households, those living off the gas grid and the elderly.”

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