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Government Denies Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill Is "Smoke And Mirrors"

However, Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), told PoliticsHome on Monday that he believed the legislation would not be particularly useful in ensuring the UK’s energy security as it aims for net zero by 2050.

“We will need oil and gas during the transition to net zero, albeit in shrinking amounts, and domestic production can support skilled jobs while clean energy scales up,” he said.

“But given North Sea reserves are in terminal decline, even with new licences, and given the price volatility of international fossil fuel markets, the energy security and long-term economic benefits of this legislation shouldn’t be overstated.”

He said that the priority should instead be to “rapidly reduce our demand for oil and gas” by building more renewables and insulating more homes in order to reduce gas imports.

The CEN director added that the government should introduce tax breaks to encourage more homeowners and landlords to improve their properties’ energy efficiency.

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