Environmental campaigners have reacted to commitment from Labour that they will block all new North Sea oil and gas projects. 

Freya Aitchison, oil and gas campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The science is clear that to prevent further climate breakdown, we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. The commitment from Labour to oppose new fossil fuel developments is a welcome first step, but it needs to come with plans for a just transition to renewable energy.

“Keir Starmer rightly recognises that extracting new oil and gas in the UK will not bring down our skyrocketing energy bills – rather, it will cost the UK public money through huge loopholes in the windfall tax which incentivise companies to drill for more fossil fuels. The majority of oil from UK fields is exported and sold to the highest bidder, so increasing our domestic production only benefits the oil companies that are already making record profits. 

“It’s vital that this announcement comes hand in hand with plans to support workers in the oil and gas industry to transition to jobs in the renewables industry. Setting an end date for the extraction of fossil fuels will allow workers and communities to prepare for this transition. It will provide certainty for the sector, making it clear that investing in renewables is the only choice for our energy future, and enabling workforce planning.

“The coming decade must see concerted government intervention and investment to ensure a fast and fair phase out of fossil fuels and a massive upscaling of renewables that protects livelihoods and creates plentiful decent green jobs.”