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by Kirsteen Paterson
22 January 2024
Lorna Slater urges MPs to reject 'climate-wrecking' oil and gas bill

Lorna Slater MSP | Alamy

Lorna Slater urges MPs to reject 'climate-wrecking' oil and gas bill

Lorna Slater has urged MPs to vote down "climate-wrecking" plans for North Sea oil and gas extraction.

MPs will today vote on the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, which would guarantee annual licensing rounds.

Introducing the bill in November, the UK Government said it would "boost the UK economy, energy security and [the] transition to net zero", supporting as many as 200,000 jobs and bringing in £16bn every year.

The carbon emissions associated with the production of North Sea gas must be lower than the equivalent level of emissions from imported liquefied natural gas, the government said.

Launching the bill, energy secretary Claire Coutinho said that "as energy markets become more unstable it's just common sense to make the most of our homegrown advantages and use the oil, gas, wind and hydrogen on our own doorstep". She went on: "Rather than importing dirtier fuels from abroad we want to give industry the certainty to invest in jobs here and unlock billions of pounds for our own transition to clean energy."

But Slater has branded it a "polluter's charter" and urged MPs to reject it.

Former energy minister Chris Skidmore quit the Tories over the bill, calling it a "tragedy" and saying Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is undertaking actions that are "wrong and will cause future harm".

The vote comes weeks after the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai.

Slater, the Scottish Government Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, said: "This bill is a polluter's charter that would lead to decades of environmental destruction and do nothing for our energy security. It is utterly reckless and flies in the face of our climate commitments. It is telling that not even a single Scottish Tory MP has taken a stand against it.

"Scotland has thousands of skilled workers and resources that any country would envy. We need to be using them.

"I worked in the renewables sector for years, I have seen the difference that can be made by governments that understand why it is important and give it the support it needs.

"In Scotland we are making important progress but it is being totally undermined by a Westminster government with its head in the past.

"Any MP that wants to leave any kind of positive environmental legacy must vote against this reckless and damaging bill."

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