The current UK government’s plans to achieve maximum oil and gas production in the North Sea could seriously impact local marine life and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The warning was sent in an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from a group of environmental NGOs.
According to the letter, some of the MPAs that could be impacted include:
- The North Norfolk Coast Special Protected Area.
- The Foula MPA off the coast of Shetland.
- The Southern North Sea MPA.
In the letter, the group made the point that:
“Approximately 40 percent of the area under consideration (96 of the areas within the 115 licenses) sit either partially or completely within Special Protected Areas. To license these would make a mockery of the concept of ‘marine protected areas at its basic level and undermine efforts to make these sites genuinely of benefit to marine conservation.”
Commenting on the letter and the new licenses, the Vice President of Oceana in the UK, Hugo Tagholm, stated:
“The licensing of new oil and gas fields in and around marine protected areas is a wanton act of environmental vandalism, ignoring both the government’s commitment to tackle climate change and protect nature.”