THE UK Government is facing fresh legal action over its approval of the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea, campaigners have announced.

Greenpeace have launched a judicial review in the Scottish courts over claims that the Shell-owned field was signed off without any checks being done on the damage burning the extracted gas will cause to the climate.

Campaigners have argued that the government failed in its legal duty to check the project’s climate compliance, and pointed out that the decision was made during a period of intense heat waves caused by rising global temperatures.

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They also said the gas from Jackdaw, when burnt, is set to generate more CO2 than the annual emissions of Ghana.

The gas field is not expected to come online until the later half of 2025, but at its peak is predicted to produce an estimated 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The Scottish Government said that the field will not provide a “timely solution” to current energy security issues or the cost of living crisis.

Greenpeace also has a separate legal action lodged against BP in Scottish courts, challenging the permit allowing the company to extract oil from the Vorlich field off the east coast near Aberdeen.

The National: Activists have targetted the UK Government's Edinburgh hub over the Jackdaw fieldActivists have targetted the UK Government's Edinburgh hub over the Jackdaw field

The Scottish Greens and Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland have both welcomed the legal action after it was announced on Tuesday.

Philip Evans, oil and gas transition campaigner for Greenpeace, said that the approval of Jackdaw is a “scandal”.

He added: “The government knows that burning fossil fuels drives the climate crisis, yet they’re approving a new gas field in June, without proper climate checks, and declaring a national emergency over heatwaves in July.

“Meanwhile household bills are soaring, and the government is ignoring common sense solutions - like home insulation, heat pumps and cheap renewable power.

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“We believe this is an astonishing dereliction of the government’s legal duty, and we won’t let it stand.

“So we’re taking legal action to stop Jackdaw, and whenever we see the government acting unlawfully to greenlight new fossil fuels we stand ready to fight in the courts.”

Last week the High Court ruled that the UK government’s net zero strategy is inadequate and unlawful, giving them eight months to fix it, with Jackdaw set to be the next legal headache.

Courts in Scotland will now decide whether to grant Greenpeace permission to proceed with the legal challenge, which may be paused until after the separate Vorlich case is decided by the Supreme Court.

The National: Just Stop Oil campaigners covered the UK government's hub in Edinburgh in red paint in protest over the Jackdaw decisionJust Stop Oil campaigners covered the UK government's hub in Edinburgh in red paint in protest over the Jackdaw decision

Other environmental campaign groups have welcomed the legal action.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Oil and Gas Campaigner Freya Aitchison, FoE Scotland oil and gas campaigner, said the action will send a “strong message” to the UK Government that activists will continue to oppose fossil fuel expansion.

She added: “The gas in the Jackdaw field would produce the equivalent of half the annual emissions of Scotland if burned.

“The fact is that any gas extracted will belong to energy giant Shell, who will sell it on the open market to boost their huge profits, so it won’t bring down our soaring energy prices at all. This project cannot be allowed to go ahead.”

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay said: “The Tory government’s scandalous decision to double down on oil and gas at the height of the climate crisis is completely irresponsible, and totally unnecessary in light of Scotland’s huge renewable energy potential.

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"I welcome Greenpeace’s decision to challenge this idiotic policy in court and will follow proceedings with great interest.”

The Scottish Government reiterated that they do not support “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels” as it does not comply with their climate obligations.

A spokesperson said: “This is why we have consistently called on the UK Government to urgently re-assess all approved oil licenses where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments.”

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They added that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights the importance of transitioning to renewables, and that: “New oil and gas fields do not present a timely solution to the current energy price crisis, nor our energy security needs.

“Even once operational, the extracted fossil fuels will still be affected by the same global market forces which have contributed to the current crisis.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The North Sea Transition Authority granted consent to the Jackdaw project, which will boost domestic gas supply in the years to come.

“This was on the basis of Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning considering the environmental statement of the project and concluding that it will not have a significant effect on the environment.”