Greenpeace wins legal challenge

Greenpeace image of a protester in the sea with a 'climate emergency' flag

The Government admits that it acted unlawfully in granting BP’s permit to drill for new oil in the North Sea, Greenpeace legal challenge reveals

The government failed to officially publish BP’s permit – something it is legally required to do – which meant the permit could not be challenged after officials rubber-stamped BP’s drilling application with no public scrutiny.

Greenpeace North Sea BP protest

Greenpeace protested BP’s drilling of the Vorlich Field by blocking its oil rig for 12 days in the North Sea last June, and took on BP in the courts by seeking a court order to force the government to publish the permit, so that it could be legally challenged.

All the evidence tells us that if companies like BP keep on hunting for new oil it will drive us deeper into the climate emergency. Yet the government still decided to rubber stamp BP’s request to drill for new oil regardless of the consequences and the legality of the process. Greenpeace will now seek to get BP’s drilling permit quashed. BP needs to stop fuelling the climate emergency, which is threatening the safety of our planet and putting lives at risk

John Sauven – Greenpeace director

Greenpeace is now able to launch a judicial review in the Scottish Courts to challenge BP’s permit on climate grounds. They will also seek a court order to quash the permit, which would prevent BP from extracting any new oil in the North Sea.

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10 facts about the North Sea

  1. The North Sea is the coldest sea in the world. The average temperature in summer is 17°C (63°F) and 6°C (43°F) in the winter.

2. The name “North Sea” probably came into English via the Dutch “Noordzee”, who named it thus either in contrast with the Zuiderzee (“South Sea”), located south of Frisia, or simply because the sea is generally to the north of the Netherlands.

3. The coast of the North Sea presents a diversity of geological and geographical features. In the north, deep fjords and sheer cliffs mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines, whereas in the south it consists primarily of sandy beaches and wide mudflats.

4. Around the edges of the North Sea are sizeable islands and archipelagos, including Shetland, Orkney, and the Frisian Islands.

5. In the last ice age the North Sea was covered by large areas of ice called glaciers. About 20,000 years ago the ice melted and the North Sea was formed.

Fishing boat in the North Sea
The North Sea is Europe’s main fishery accounting for over 5% of international commercial fish caught | Image: PhotoPhob

6. The development of European civilization has been greatly affected by maritime traffic on the North Sea. The Roman Empire and the Vikings both extended their territories across the sea. The British Empire sought to dominate commerce both on the North Sea and through it.

7. Due to the strong prevailing winds, and shallow water, countries on the North Sea, particularly Germany and Denmark, have used the shore for wind power since the 1990s. The North Sea was the home of one of the first large-scale offshore wind farms in the world.

8. In the 1960s geologists found large areas of oil and natural gas under the North Sea. Most of the oil fields are owned by the United Kingdom and Norway but some belong to Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

9. Over 230 species of fish live in the North Sea. Cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, plaice, sole, mackerel, herring, pouting, sprat, and sandeel are all very common and are fished commercially. The North Sea is also home to marine mammals including seal, porpoise, dolphin and whale species.

10. The coasts of the North Sea are home to nature reserves including the Ythan Estuary, Fowlsheugh Nature Preserve, and Farne Islands in the UK and the Wadden Sea National Parks in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. These locations provide breeding habitat for dozens of bird species.


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