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by Kirsteen Paterson
18 December 2023
Rosebank: Charities launch legal challenge against UK Government

Campaigners protest against Rosebank in Edinburgh | Alamy

Rosebank: Charities launch legal challenge against UK Government

Campaigners bidding to halt the development of the Rosebank oil field are to mount separate legal challenges against the UK Government.

Greenpeace and Uplift have both applied to the Court of Session for a judicial review of the decision to allow drilling at the field off Shetland.

Uplift claims UK energy secretary Claire Coutinho failed to demonstrate how consent for Rosebank is in line with her government's climate plans.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace contends that the approval process failed to consider resulting pollution from the burning of the oil from the field, and the impacts on marine life.

The UK Government "strongly rejects" the claims, saying: "The UK is a world leader in reaching net zero, cutting emissions faster than any other major economy, and as the independent Climate Change Committee recognises, we will still need oil and gas as part of our energy mix.

"We will continue to back the UK's oil and gas industry, which underpins our energy security, supports up to 200,000 jobs and will provide around £50bn in tax revenue over the next five years, helping fund our transition to net zero."

Regulator the North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA) granted consent to Equinor and Ithaca Energy to begin operations in Rosebank and is also named in the legal challenge. A spokesperson said it does not comment on ongoing legal cases.

Uplift executive director Tessa Khan said: "If Rosebank goes ahead, the UK will blow its own plans to stay within safe climate limits. It's that simple.

"If the government disagrees, it needs to provide evidence and prove it in court."

Greenpeace said there is no evidence of consultation with Scottish ministers about the impacts of development on nearby wildlife. It claims Coutinho should have considered both "direct and indirect effects of the use of the extracted hydrocarbons on human health, the environment and climate change".

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