A Response Piece to Rishi Sunak Announcement of North Sea Oil and Gas Licences

Today (Monday 31 July) the Prime Minister has revealed that hundreds of new oil and gas licences will be granted in the UK. This has confirmed that the Government will continue to rely on fossil fuels for Britain’s energy base for many years to come. This is highly concerning as the UK should be transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewables, not expanding them even more.

If these licenses go ahead, this will put future generations and the environment at risk. We have all seen the recent effects of climate change from the heatwaves and wildfires across the world and we all need to be taking steps to help tackle climate change.

Instead of committing to drilling fossil fuels, the Prime Minister and Government should be looking at renewable technologies already producing green gas in the UK – for example, Anaerobic Digestion(AD). AD is already creating green gas and electricity from organic waste, however, in many Counties separating organic and food waste is not mandatory resulting in the waste going to landfill.

It is disappointing that the Government can commit to furthering fossil fuels but not to enforcing new laws to ensure that all organic waste will be processed to generate green energy. We already have the working technology to make energy from renewable sources and do not need to depend on fossil fuels anymore. To build the UK’s energy security from green sources, the Government needs to commit further to this sector and put renewables at the top of the agenda.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), can also be easily used alongside AD. The initial product produced during AD is a mixture of biomethane, carbon dioxide and other trace gases, which collectively is called biogas. The biogas can then be upgraded so that it is only biomethane being injected into the national grid. CCS can therefore be used in tandem with this process to capture the carbon dioxide removed from the biogas, preventing its release into the atmosphere, and further enabling AD to positively support the climate movement.

A balanced approach to the energy mix is vital and we need to be looking at better support and incentives for renewables. We hope that the Government will reconsider its plans for the North Sea oil and gas as the future is not looking promising for our planet.

Let’s not forget about renewables when making energy decisions, we have a huge renewable potential in the UK and this is the direction we should be going in.