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ClientEarth lawyers have warned that climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects such as the Cambo oil field could be waved through without proper assessment of the climate impact of offshore oil and gas in the UK.
The environmental law charity’s legal experts have written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warning that the Government’s delay in updating the environmental assessment means new projects could receive approval based on outdated analysis.
They cautioned that failure to deliver a report that gives a full picture of the climate consequences of oil and gas development will leave the Government open to legal challenge, and that further delay to the assessment was only increasing litigation risk.
The department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy was expected to release a new Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (OESEA) – used to guide government policy and decisions regarding fossil fuel developments in UK waters – before the end of the year.
But there has been no update on the report – the first to be conducted in five years – since an initial scoping consultation was launched in May, and no response to that consultation.
ClientEarth’s lawyers are concerned that the Government’s update of the OESEA has been significantly delayed at a critical time when decision makers are considering applications for new oil and gas projects that risk locking in carbon emissions to 2050 and beyond.