Liz Truss warned over plans for 130 new oil and gas drills in North Sea

It has been reported that she will approve up to 130 new drilling licenses in one of her first acts as prime minister if elected.

Liz Truss warned over plans for new oil and gas drilling in North Sea if she becomes next prime minister FlickrFlickr

Liz Truss has been warned against plans to extract more oil and gas in the North Sea.

It comes after it was reported that the Conservative leadership candidate will approve up to 130 new drilling licenses in one of her first acts as prime minister if she is elected.

Either Truss or Rishi Sunak will be named as Boris Johnson’s successor in Downing Street on September 5.

It is believed that Truss, on entering No 10, will also push oil and gas firms to invest in existing sites to maximise production.

The move would be aimed at helping companies to increase energy supplies and reduce consumer costs.

Countries across Europe have sought to lessen their reliance on Russian oil following Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

In 2021, imports from Russia made up 4% of gas used in the UK, 9% of oil and 27% of coal, worth a combined £4.5bn.

However, in June this year – four months following the start of the invasion – the UK imported no oil, gas or coal from Russia.

Liz Truss’ prime ministerial campaign office has been contacted for a comment on the plans.

In response to the proposals, the Scottish Government underlined the need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources.

They also said that new oil and gas fields do not present a “timely solution” to the energy price crisis.

A spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government’s position is clear that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations

“Our position has been supported by the UK and Scottish Government’s statutory advisers on climate change and the IPCC’s latest report, which shows that the impacts of climate change are even worse than previously thought and that business as usual is not an option.

“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine only serves to highlight the importance of accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources.

“New oil and gas fields do not present a timely solution to the current energy price crisis, nor our energy security needs.

“Even once operational, the extracted fossil fuels will still be affected by the same global market forces which have contributed to the current crisis.”

The spokesperson indicated that wind power is “already one of the cheapest forms of electricity” as they set out the Government’s expansion plans for on and offshore wind.

The Scottish Greens also spoke out against the plans.

Mark Ruskell, the party’s spokesperson on the environment, warned that “we can’t drill our way out of environmental breakdown”, as he criticised the plans.

“The science is clear. The climate crisis is the greatest crisis that will be faced by this generation or future generations. It needs radical action, not more climate vandalism from the Tories,” he said.

“We can’t drill our way out of environmental breakdown and Liz Truss’s proposals will do nothing to reduce household bills.

“We already have more oil and gas in current production than we can safely burn to keep to our climate commitments.”

“We are approaching the end of the age of oil and gas, and the next prime minister must plan accordingly. That means revoking the Cambo licences and ensuring no new oil and gas licences whatsoever.”

Ruskell insisted that if the next prime minister is to help avert climate disaster, they must divert support from the oil and has sector towards green industries.

“The UN has warned that it is code red for humanity, and governments need to start acting like it,” he said.

“Last year global leaders came together for COP 26, where they promised the earth. It is only nine months later and many of the warm words have turned to dust.”

“What we need is a major investment in renewable energy. If the next PM is to play their part in averting climate disaster they must divert the support that is being targeted at oil and gas towards the green industries of the future.”

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