Keir Starmer will announce plans shortly to block all new North Sea oil and gas developments and limit borrowing to green investment only as part of a Labour blueprint to make Britain a “clean energy superpower”. The Sunday Times has more.
The Labour leader is expected to set out his net zero energy policy when he launches his latest “national mission” in Scotland next month. It will include a pledge to ban all new North Sea oil and gas licences, signalling a seismic shift in decades of U.K. energy policy.
It will be one of Starmer’s five key pledges to the electorate and opens up a clear dividing line with the Conservative Party over a critical issue facing the U.K. as next year’s general election approaches. Rishi Sunak has backed further oil and gas exploration in the country’s energy security strategy.
Starmer will also announce that a Labour government would only borrow to invest in green enterprises, another dramatic departure from policies enacted by successive U.K. governments. The Labour source added: “We’ll set out our fiscal plans in full at the election, showing how we will invest in jobs and industries of the future while meeting our fiscal rules.”
The party expects the plan to create up to half a million jobs in the renewables industry, including at least 50,000 in Scotland. The move is expected to offset developments in the dwindling North Sea oil and gas fields that directly employ more than 20,000 workers and provide an estimated further 200,000 jobs onshore.
Under the “green prosperity” plan, Labour is aiming to double onshore wind, triple solar and more than quadruple offshore wind power. The party has committed to creating a publicly owned renewable energy company whose aim is to achieve a zero-carbon power system by 2030.
However, Starmer’s decision to turn off the taps in the North Sea is not expected to come without challenges amid fears it could force the U.K. to place more reliance on energy imported from countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Currently, the UK meets about 45% of its gas needs from domestic energy generation, reducing its dependence on overseas vendors with higher emissions. Despite the continued rise in renewables, however, 85% of British homes still rely on gas boilers for heat and 42% of the U.K.’s electricity comes from gas.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: For chapter and verse on what these crackpot policies will mean for the British economy, see Lord Frost’s Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture.
Stop Press 2: A new oil field is in doubt following Keir Starmer’s unveiling of his new “green prosperity” plan. The Telegraph has more.