Legal ruling

Greenpeace oil field defeat ‘a victory for energy security’

Greenpeace staged a protest over the rig (pic: Greenpeace)

Greenpeace’s failed attempt to stop drilling at a North Sea oil field has been welcomed by the industry as “a victory for common sense and for the UK’s energy security.”

The environmental group wanted to overturn the UK Government’s decision to grant BP a permit to drill the Vorlich Field in the North Sea.

Greenpeace argued in Scotland’s highest civil court that there had been “a myriad of failures in the public consultation”. It claimed the permit did not consider the climate impacts of burning fossil fuel.

However, judges at the Court of Session said that the government’s decision to grant a permit was lawful. The ruling means operations will continue at the field.

In a written ruling, Lord Carloway, the Lord President, said: “It would not be practicable, in an assessment of the environmental effects of a project for the extraction of fossil fuels, for the decision maker to conduct a wide ranging examination into the effects, local or global, of the use of that fuel by the final consumer.”

Michael Tholen, sustainability director at oil and gas body OGUK, said: “This is a victory for common sense and for the UK’s energy security.

“If the ruling had gone the other way, it would have generated uncertainty among the hundreds of companies involved in producing the nation’s oil and gas.”

Greenpeace said it plans to appeal before the Supreme Court.

John Sauven, UK executive director for the group, said: “The government is celebrating a win for the fossil fuel industry after its lawyers argued in court that emissions from burning oil extracted by BP are ‘not relevant’ when granting an oil permit.

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