THE UK should "set an example" and say no to Cambo, a former Cabinet minister has said.

Robert Buckland, who served as justice secretary, has spoken out against drilling at the North Sea oil field, which lies 75 miles west of Shetland.

It's thought that there are 800 million barrels of oil at the site, but potential activity there is proving controversial against the backdrop of COP26 and the climate crisis.

The UN summit in Glasgow ended at the weekend. China and India pressed for the wording of the final deal on coal subsidies to say "phase down", not "phase out", something that's triggered criticism from opponents who fear this will make it harder to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The exploration licence for Cambo was granted 20 years ago and, subject to approval, drilling could begin next year. Nicola Sturgeon has said that permit "must be reassessed", given the climate crisis, and that her government's forthcoming energy strategy will oppose unlimited extraction of fossil fuels as "not consistent" with climate obligations.

However, the field's fate lies with Westminsters's Oil and Gas Authority, not Holyrood.

READ MORE: Cambo oil field will ‘cut into protected seabeds’ jeopardising hundreds of species

Meanwhile, a separate plan for a £165m coal mine in Cumbria has also been put forwards. Speaking to the BBC's Westminster Hour, Buckland said the latter was for the mining of coking coal for the steel industry.

He went on: "The problem is, if we don't take it from Cumbria, do we then import it from another part of the world and have the same ecological and environmental impact? It's not an easy solution.

"I think on balance, the UK, on the principle of charity begins at home, then the UK needs to set an example and therefore I think the balance probably tips against the exploitation of Cambo and the Cumbrian coal mine."