ENVIRONMENTALISTS have suffered a setback in their attempt to get Government support for the North Sea oil and gas industry deemed unlawful following a landmark legal action.

Campaigners launched a High Court action last year against the Oil and Gas Authority and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on the grounds that the official drive to maximise North Sea production is both unlawful and irrational.

They claimed the policy of maximising economic recovery of the North Sea’s reserves promoted by the OGA is unlawful because it fails to take account of the billions of pounds of public money used to support the industry. This means the resulting production is not economic for the UK.

The policy is irrational because it will result in increased oil and gas production, in conflict with the UK’s legal duty to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Mrs Justice Cockerill said the claimants action failed on both counts.