Thank you for contacting me about oil extraction, such as drilling.
I share your concern about the use of fossil fuels and tackling climate change is a priority.
The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution has recently been published. This lays the blueprint for how we can achieve net-zero and the further publication of the Energy White Paper made clear the Government’s commitment to clean energy sources.
As we transition to clean energy, there will still be some role for fossil fuels in the medium term. However, this is not sustainable in the long term and I am pleased that steps have been taken to speed up the transition. In the Energy White Paper, it set out the Government’s future plans for the oil and gas sector. This includes transforming the UK Continental Shelf, the areas of the sea bed and subsoil beyond the territorial sea over which the UK exercises sovereign rights of exploration and exploitation of natural resources, to be a net-zero basin by 2050. In addition, the North Sea Transition Deal creates new business opportunities, jobs and skills as the oil and gas sector works to transition to clean, green energy. The Government will provide opportunities for oil and gas companies to repurpose their operations away from unabated fossil fuels to abatement technologies such as Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS), or clean energy production such as hydrogen.
The Deal includes interim targets, such as a 10 per cent reduction in emissions by 2025, 25 per cent by 2027 and 50 per cent by 2030. It also supports up to 40,000 UK supply chain jobs in decarbonising UK Continental Shelf production and the CCUS and hydrogen sectors.
I appreciate you raising your concerns about the Cambo oil field. I understand that the original licensing consent for the Cambo oil field dates back to 2001 and the project is going through normal regulatory processes. The decision on whether to grant consent to Cambo oil field will be taken by the Oil and Gas Authority, who are ultimately responsible, rather than the Secretary of State.
On the Island, I have lodged further opposition to plans by UK Oil and Gas PLC for a new drilling site in Arreton. The applicant needs both planning permission and an environmental permit in order to operate. The Isle of Wight Council is still assessing the planning application and comments made during the formal consultation period that ended in February. I objected to the planning application last summer and I have further objected to the application to grant an environmental permit.
I am deeply concerned about the environmental impacts arising from this proposal. Not only does the proposed site sit on undeveloped greenfield farmland, it is very close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the boundary of the Isle of Wight AONB. As many will be aware, I am calling for the area of AONB on the Island to be extended, and for the Island to become an Island Park, to take into account the Island’s landscape as a whole.
Our environment has been both nationally and internationally recognised for the variety of landscape, wildlife and level of access available across the Island. We do not want to see that tarnished.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.