Greenpeace makes legal bid to stop UK offshore drilling

Greenpeace has launched legal action in a bid to stop UK offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.







The environmental group announced today that its lawyers have filed a claim at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.



They are to seek court orders banning the issuing of new licences for deep-sea drilling until the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion have been properly established.



Greenpeace says that, if its legal challenge is successful, its action will affect over 20 oil production licences and could halt future licensing rounds.



Greenpeace lawyers argue the ban is necessary because the licences relate to areas close to environmentally-sensitive sites which support species such as whales and dolphins and are legally protected.



They will seek to persuade a judge that, in the wake of the recent BP disaster, the Government cannot be certain that drilling in those areas will not result in environmental damage.



They want a ruling that licences should not be handed out until a proper assessment, as required by law, has taken place.



Today, papers were lodged at the High Court applying for permission to seek judicial review, and these will now go before a single judge sitting in private.



The judge will decide whether Greenpeace has an "arguable case" which should go to a full hearing.



Greenpeace says just a few weeks ago Chevron admitted that drilling in the deep waters off Shetland could cause a spill "worse than the Gulf of Mexico disaster".



The group boasts that it has a strong record of success in the courts and won a similar battle on oil production licences in 1999.



Legal challenges to nuclear power and the third Heathrow runway have also been successful in recent years.



John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: "The Government is handing out oil drilling licences left, right and centre as if the Deepwater Horizon disaster never happened. And they've got to stop.



"The oil industry is drilling in riskier and more dangerous places in UK waters, where a spill could be a disaster for wildlife."



The "addiction to oil" was also seriously undermining the fight against climate change.



"Long-term energy security must come from lowering demand through efficiency savings, not scraping the bottom of the oil barrel in fragile habitats and treacherous seas like those west of Shetland," said Mr Sauven.



BP has said that the Deepwater Horizon incident will cost the company at least 40 billion (£24,792,700).



Greenpeace says any clean-up operation off Shetland could be severely hampered by rough weather, making it more expensive and difficult than the operation in the US.



Colder waters would also mean that oil would disperse much more slowly and cause potentially greater damage to wildlife, like whales and dolphins.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine