Labour plans to block new North Sea oil and gas developments as Starmer vows to make UK 'clean energy superpower'

28 May 2023, 14:27 | Updated: 28 May 2023, 15:23

Such a move would signal a radical shift in decades of UK energy policy
Such a move would signal a radical shift in decades of UK energy policy. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sir Keir Starmer is expected to announce that a Labour government would block all new North Sea oil and gas developments as he plans to make Britain a "clean energy superpower".

Sir Keir will set out his net zero energy policy in Scotland next month, which is expected to represent a radical shift in the UK's energy policy.

The pledge will be one of Sir Keir's five key missions to the electorate during the next general election.

The current government has signalled it will continue to back further oil and gas contracts, signalling a clear divide between the two main parties.

Sir Keir is also set to announce that his Labour government would only borrow money for green investments.

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Sir Keir Starmer will make the policy a central part of the Labour party's promise to the electorate
Sir Keir Starmer will make the policy a central part of the Labour party's promise to the electorate. Picture: Getty

A Labour source told the Sunday Times: "We are against the granting of new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea.

"They will do nothing to cut bills, as the Tories have acknowledged.

"They undermine our energy security and would drive a coach and horse through our climate targets.

"But Labour would continue to use existing oil and gas wells over the coming decades and manage them sustainably as we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower."

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Some 50,000 jobs would be created in Scotland under the plan, with another 450,000 across the country.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary, told Sky on Sunday that his party will over the coming weeks outline "how we want to invest in green jobs of the future".

He said it is not about "shutting down what's going on at the moment", but rather ensuring current developments are managed "sustainably".

He added: "We know we've got to move to more renewable sources of energy, it's important for our climate change commitments but it's also the way in which we can bring energy bills down for consumers."

In its draft energy strategy published in January, the Scottish Government said there "should be a presumption against new exploration for oil and gas", as it proposed making the "fastest possible just transition".

Eco-protest group Just Stop Oil have already welcomed the announcement, which is in line with their demands to end all new oil and gas contracts.

A spokesperson said: "Direction action works.

"We will hold Labour to this promise, and continue to push our genocidal government to drop their indefensible policy of new oil and gas."

A Just Stop Oil protestor previously told LBC that the group would stop carrying out direct action if a Labour government was put into power, provided they stick to stopping all new North Sea oil and gas developments.

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