Boris Johnson has promised a “smooth and sensible” shift from fossil fuels to renewable power, adding that Margaret Thatcher’s closure of coal mines had given the UK an “early start”. He then said insisted that “we can’t just tear up contracts” as campaigners urged him to block the drilling of oil and gas from the seabed near Shetland.
The Prime Minister, who was visiting an offshore wind farm on the final day of his trip to Scotland, said there were “massive opportunities” to increase the use of green technology.
The visit comes ahead of the Cop26 international climate summit in Glasgow in November, with Mr Johnson insisting he wanted it to be “ambitious” in its aims.
he Prime Minister and business minister Kwasi Kwarteng boarded the Esvagt Alba in Fraserburgh Harbour, Aberdeenshire, on Thursday morning before heading several miles out into the Moray Firth to the Moray East Offshore Wind Farm.
The 100-turbine development is under construction but began exporting its first power to the National Grid in June.
The development sparked controversy when BiFab fabrication yards in Scotland were overlooked for manufacturing contracts, with jobs going overseas.
GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “Moray East is a monument to the broken promises of the political leaders who promised us a ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’ and it should serve as an important lesson to this Prime Minister.
“If he wants a genuine green jobs revolution across the nations and regions of the UK, then he must stop the mass export of the jobs we need to deliver it.”
Cambo oil and gas field contracts
Boris Johnson has insisted that “we can’t just tear up contracts” as campaigners urged him to block the drilling of oil and gas from the seabed near Shetland.
The UK Government could approve proposals for fossil fuel extraction from the Cambo oil field ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this year.
Original licensing for fossil fuel exploration at the site – located in the North Atlantic to the west of the Shetland Islands – was initially approved in 2001.
If given the go-ahead for full extraction by the UK Government, a further 150-170 million barrels are due to be drilled from the site, which is expected to operate until 2050.
But more than 80,000 people have now signed a petition delivered to Downing Street, demanding the Prime Minister stop the development and block any extraction of fossil fuels given the climate crisis and pledges to reduce carbon emissions.
?We have to stop this.— Friends of the Earth Scotland ? (@FoEScot) July 5, 2021
The UK Govt is considering opening a huge new oil field ahead of the UN climate talks #COP26
It will create pollution equal to 16 coal-fired power plants
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Tell @BorisJohnson to #StopCambo ?https://t.co/QENtD5SPKW
Mr Johnson was challenged about the situation during a visit to an offshore wind development in the Moray Firth.
The Prime Minister told broadcasters: “This was a contract that was signed in… was agreed in 2001 and we can’t just tear up contracts, there is a process to be gone through.
“But what we need to do is use this incredible potential of wind power, and turbines like this… they’ve only been going up in the last four or five years, the size that you’re looking at now, and they’re going to get even bigger.
“So the potential is absolutely enormous. We can power millions and millions of homes across the UK.”