Labour would not look to withdraw licences for the UK’s largest prospective oil and gas field, known as Rosebank, if they are approved under the current Conservative government, Keir Starmer clarified today.
Labour has promised there will be “no cliff edge” caused by the party’s policy to ban new oil and gas extraction licences in the North Sea, with existing licences kept in place.
He said: “It’s very important for investors who are going to invest in UK to know there is continuity.”
In response to a question about Rosebank, ITV reported that Starmer said: “Rosebank is probably up for decision very soon and if it is granted, it falls into the category of existing licences.”
The comments came as Starmer outlined Labour’s green energy transition plan for the country, which includes an end to the ban on onshore wind projects and more subsidies for green energy firms.
“I’m not going to accept a situation where our planning system means it takes 13 years to build an offshore wind-farm,” Starmer said, speaking in Leith, Scotland.
Labour have also pledged £2.5bn in direct subsidies to green energy firms manufacturing in the UK in a bid to ensure the clean power revolution powers the UK’s productivity, if elected.
Starmer also announced the ‘British Jobs Bonus’ which he said will help “attract new investment, new jobs, new supply chains into our deprived industrial heartlands and will reward companies that back working people.”
The move is a response to the major subsidies delivered by US president Joe Biden under the Inflation Reduction Act, which has seen huge numbers of multinational firms look to set up projects in the US to take advantage of the generous support package.
Detailing their mission to make Britain a clean energy superpower by 2030, Labour said the subsidies will focus on investing on offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage, and incentives will be targeted at “areas that most need it” such as Scottish oil and gas communities, coastal communities and the north east of England.
Investments would still be made in line with its fiscal rules, Labour said.
Starmer also stressed that the UK and the City of London would continue to be the “world leader” in green finance under a Labour government, which he said was “a massive advantage for us all”.
“There are no grounds for the defeatism which says we can’t lead the world on this,” Starmer said. “That our prospects will always be squeezed out by the US and the EU, that’s declinist nonsense.”
Reacting to the policy speech, Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said it was “unforgivable” that Labour had refused to rule out supporting the new Rosebank oil field.
“Starmer’s promises of clean power by 2030 sound completely hollow when he accepts that oil and gas will be part of the mix ‘for decades to come’,” he said.
“Labour are simply not offering the leadership the urgency of the climate crisis demands.”
Peter Chalkley, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “The US and EU’s clean energy incentive packages mean two of the world’s biggest emitters and economies are now stepping up a gear to attract and grow green industries and polling shows Britons don’t want to be left behind in this race.”
A Conservative spokesman claimed Labour’s energy plan was “written by Just Stop Oil” and “appeases their eco-zealot paymasters but does nothing for long-term energy security”.
They added: “Under the Conservatives, we have decarbonised faster than any other G7 nation, whilst growing the economy, expanding the use of renewables five-fold and starting work on Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation.”