Sunak’s expansion of North Sea drilling is ‘dereliction of duty’ say Christian campaigners


Mon 31 Jul 2023 by Donna Birrell

There’s been a furious response from Christian environmental campaigners to the Prime Minister’s decision to issue hundreds of oil and gas licenses for the North Sea.

Christian Aid says Rishi Sunak’s announcement “flies in the face of climate science” and ignores calls from environmental campaigners who have been arguing for an end to drilling in the North Sea.

Jennifer Larbie, Christian Aid’s Head of UK Advocacy and Campaigns, said:

“From the terrible drought in East Africa to fires across Europe in recent weeks, the climate crisis is causing untold human loss and suffering.

“Now more than ever, the UK Government needs to show genuine leadership and strengthen their climate plans which are vital for the protection of millions in low-income countries.

“Instead, these wrongheaded priorities on new oil and gas licenses fly in the face of climate science, obliterate the UK’s net-zero commitments and let down people on the frontline of the climate crisis. The Prime Minister needs to put people and planet first.”

Speaking to Premier Barbara Echlin from Green Christian said:

“I was actually staggered – that the government should be now going ahead with hundreds of new licences to take new oil and gas out of the oceans is absolutely going in totally the wrong direction. It’s not just me saying this, just days ago, the International Energy Agency said we should have stopped drilling for new oil in 2021. Two years on and our Prime Minister has announced he’s going to go ahead.

“This is to my mind, a dereliction of duty to our country’s future and the future of the world.”

Rishi Sunak also announced that North East Scotland and the Humber have been chosen to host new carbon capture and storage sites, to support up to 50,000 jobs.

Barbara Echlin said that although this news was welcome, the Prime Minister should be investing in other sources of energy:

“Yes, we need jobs, but instead of putting all this money into jobs for the new drilling, why isn’t our government investing in wind, wave and tidal technology, also in Scotland?”

The Prime Minister insists extracting more oil and gas from the North Sea will help reduce the UK’s reliance on international markets.

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