Greenpeace has launched a renewed attempt to challenge the UK’s latest offshore oil and gas licensing round.

The campaign group opposes the government’s decision to conduct the round - and has now gone to the High Court.

Enacted under the short tenure of Prime Minister Liz Truss, the 33rd round saw the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) offer more than 900 blocks of offshore acreage, with the regulator suggesting that 100-plus licences could eventually be handed out for new oil and gas exploration.

The High Court move is Greenpeace's latest attempt to get its case heard, after an initial application for a judicial review was rejected.

It intends to challenge the government on the basis that it has “botched the decision-making process”, overseen at that time by Jacob Rees Mogg in the first days of the Truss administration, and “failed to properly assess the climate impact” of the licensing round.

It also argues that the co-defendant, the NSTA, opened the round unlawfully.


Energy Voice says that Greenpeace claims that none of the government’s tests look at emissions created from burning fossil fuels, despite the fact that these will amount to more than 80% of the total emissions generated from the new licences.

A Government spokesperson said: “It’s vital we continue to maintain our energy security by boosting our home-grown energy supply and strengthening our domestic resilience.

“While our plans to power up Britain include significant investment in new renewable and nuclear projects, the transition to non-fossil forms of energy cannot happen overnight, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee.”

Applications for the licensing round closed in early January, with NSTA confirming it had received 115 applications from 76 companies, with bids covering 258 blocks and part-blocks.

The results of the round are expected in late spring.

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