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Portsmouth MP slams Government’s new oil and gas licensing Bill as ‘incompatible’ with UK climate change commitments  

By 23 January 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has spoken out against the Government’s Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill which aims to max out North Sea oil and gas supplies, despite UK commitments to transition away from fossil fuels and to cut emissions to Net Zero by 2050. 

The Bill introduced by the Government aims to boost controversial fossil fuel extraction and would see the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) invite applications for new oil and gas production licenses in the UK’s offshore waters on an annual basis.

Just last year the UK joined other countries in signing the UAE consensus at Cop28 pledging to transition way from fossil fuels.

Mr Morgan said that expanding fossil fuel extraction, widely considered to be a key contributor to carbon emissions, is incompatible with the UK’s climate change commitments and sends the wrong message to investors about the UK’s commitment to the green transition.

Mr Morgan voted against the Bill at Second Reading yesterday [January 23].

It follows a record of action by the Portsmouth MP to stand up for climate action and protect Portsmouth’s precious environment for future generations, including campaigning against sewage pollution, working with stakeholders to secure effective coastal erosion defences, and supporting Portsmouth’s clean air zone.

The Bill has been met with dismay by environmental groups who claim the legislation is not only damaging to the environment but also has no clear economic benefit, with the Government itself admitting that the Bill will not reduce energy bills.

Environmental campaigning group Uplift said that just one 1.3-gigawatt windfarm would generate more than enough electricity to offset the gas that would be lost if no new licences were awarded under the bill.

The Bill will also do nothing for energy security because oil and gas is sold on the international market, with the National Infrastructure Commission recently concluding that further reliance on fossil fuels means “exposure to geopolitical shocks that impact of the price of these internationally traded commodities”.

Responding to the Government’s policy, City MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Every family and business in our community has paid the price of the Conservatives’ failed energy which has left Britain as the worst hit country in Western Europe during the energy crisis.

“Only Labour can make Britain energy independent, whereas Rishi Sunak will leave Britain exposed to Putin and other fossil fuel dictators.

“Labour in Government will make the UK a clean energy superpower, making energy cheap and secure, so Portsmouth people never again face spiraling bills, while boosting jobs and investment in every region and nation of the country.”

Through the Clean Power Mission, an incoming Labour Government has committed to:

  • Cut energy bills for good, taking up to £1,400 off the annual household bill and £53 billion off energy bills for businesses by 2030
  • Create good jobs by rebuilding the strength of our industrial heartlands and coastal communities, creating over a million jobs in ten years
  • Delivery security by using our abundant natural resources to free ourselves from the manipulations of Vladimir Putin and petrostates; and
  • Provide climate leadership, to protect our planet for future generations

You can read more about Labour’s Clean Power Mission here.