Climate campaigners have reacted to the announcement that Greenpeace UK are mounting a legal challenge to the UK Government’s approval of the Jackdaw gas field.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Oil & Gas Campaigner Freya Aitchison said:

“We welcome this legal challenge against the Jackdaw gas field which will send a strong message to the Government that the climate movement will oppose fossil fuel expansion in every way we can.

“Climate scientists and energy experts alike are clear that we cannot afford any more gas extraction if we are to limit dangerous warming, yet the UK Government is ploughing ahead with licensing projects like Jackdaw which will lock us into continued reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come.

“The gas in the Jackdaw field would produce the equivalent of half the annual emissions of Scotland if burned.The fact is that any gas extracted will belong to energy giant Shell, who will sell it on the open market to boost their huge profits, so it won’t bring down our soaring energy prices at all. This project cannot be allowed to go ahead.

“The UK Government must stop issuing any new fossil fuel licences and instead start planning for a managed phase-out of production, with a just transition for workers and communities.”

Greenpeace issued an embargoed press release earlier detailing how they were taking the UK Government to court over the Jackdaw gas field approval. Contact the Greenpeace press office: press.uk@greenpeace.org

Shell’s plans for Jackdaw were previously rejected by the regulator because of its potential impact on the climate: Jackdaw’s gas is particularly polluting because it has an unusually high CO2 content. Shell was told by the regulator in October last year to come up with a different plan, one that aligned with the UK’s climate targets and the oil and gas industry’s own, albeit very weak commitments on reducing emissions. Shell has ignored the regulator’s demand and in February this year submitted essentially the same proposal with only very minor changes. Shell is explicit that this plan is the one that makes the most commercial sense for Shell.

Summary of the Jackdaw Field Development, including Shell’s Environmental Statement, on the BEIS website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jackdaw-field-development

The UK government’s new Energy Security Strategy includes a commitment to launch another licensing round in the autumn: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-energy-security-strategy/british-energy-security-strategy#oil-and-gas 

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.