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New Oil Wells: Surrey

Volume 701: debated on Wednesday 20 October 2021

6. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of proposals to put four new oil wells in Surrey on the UK’s (a) credibility and (b) negotiating position as President of COP26. (903712)

The 2019 decision of Surrey County Council to grant planning permission for four new bore holes is currently subject to a legal challenge, which will be heard by the Court of Appeal in November. It would therefore not be appropriate for me to comment on the specifics, due to the ongoing litigation.

The International Energy Agency has warned that if the world is to reach net zero by 2050, the exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year, yet there are currently proposals for multiple new exploratory oil developments across the UK. With just 11 days to go until world leaders gather in Glasgow, how can the COP26 President justify these developments against the Government’s stated aim of keeping global warming to 1.5 °C?

As I announced earlier this year in my former role, the Government will be introducing a climate compatibility checkpoint for any new licences issued, in order to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with our climate goals. The checkpoint, which we have committed to launch by the end of this year, will be used to assess the climate compatibility of any future licensing rounds.