Residents call on Anthony Browne to reject Government's oil and gas bill

12 Jan 2024
Oil rig

Pressure is growing on Anthony Browne to vote against the Government's oil and gas bill after residents across his South Cambs constituency signed an open letter calling on him to vote the bill down when it comes back to Parliament next week.

The bill mandates annual licensing rounds for new oil and gas developments, despite this being against the advice of the UK's Climate Change Committee.  The letter, which has been coordinated by South Cambs Lib Dem candidate Pippa Heylings, argues that the bill is "diametrically opposed" to the international climate agreement the Government signed up to last month at the Dubai climate summit.

Pippa said "It's clear that residents across South Cambridgeshire want this Government to act on the climate crisis, but instead they are taking us in the opposite direction with this awful bill. The bill does nothing for consumers struggling with high energy bills, nothing for our economy which needs investment in renewables, and nothing for our climate which is already reaching dangerous tipping points. It's a terrible piece of legislation and Anthony Browne should do the right thing and reject it."

Anthony Browne has been keen to trumpet his green credentials, but given the strength of opposition from environmental groups to this bill, including from his own party, this will be a key test of his commitment.  Alok Sharma, COP26 President and his Conservative colleague, has spoken out against the legislation, and another Conservative MP has resigned over the issue.

"Dear Anthony Browne,

We are writing to ask that you vote against the Government bill mandating annual oil and gas licensing rounds.

We now know that last year was the hottest year globally since records began. The climate crisis is getting more and more urgent. Just last month at the climate summit in Dubai, your Government committed to an international agreement to "transition away from fossil fuels". This bill is diametrically opposed to that. It goes squarely against the advice of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as the UK's own Climate Change Committee, who have said that continued expansion of oil and gas reserves are inconsistent with our climate goals.

The bill will have no impact on energy prices for UK customers or our energy security as the fuels will be sold on the global market. Ministers are claiming UK oil & gas is cleaner than imports, but this has been shown to be misleading at best. Even the oil and gas authority themselves have said the bill is not needed.

As the former chair of the all party environment group and someone who has spoken out on environmental issues in the past, we can't believe that you think this bill is a good idea. Alok Sharma, our COP26 President and your Conservative colleague, has spoken out against it, and another Conservative MP, the Minister who signed the UK's Net Zero by 2050 commitment into law, has resigned over it. It is time for others to take a stand.

Please do the right thing, and vote down this climate wrecking bill,

Yours sincerely

Pippa Heylings +70 South Cambs residents"