THE Rosebank oil field has been granted development and production consent by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA).

The field lies north-west of Shetland and contains up to 350 million barrels of oil.

The NSTA said consent had been given by the oil and gas regulator to owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy, following the acceptance of the Environmental Statement.

Environmental protesters have already expressed concerns about the plans and have said the decision to give Rosebank the green light shows Rishi Sunak “puts the profits of oil companies above everyday people”.

READ MORE: Sunak’s delaying of difficult choices only means harder ones later

Greenpeace’s UK climate campaigner Philip Evans said: “We know that relying on fossil fuels is terrible for our energy security, the cost of living, and the climate.

“Our sky-high bills and recent extreme weather have shown us that. The ugly truth is that Sunak is pandering to vested interest, demonstrating the stranglehold the fossil fuel lobby has on government decision making.

“And it’s bill payers and the climate that will suffer because of it. Why else would he make such a reckless decision?”

Tessa Khan, a climate lawyer and executive director of Uplift which helped coordinate the Stop Rosebank campaign added: “Rosebank will do nothing to lower fuel bills or boost UK energy security.

“Most of this oil will be shipped abroad and then sold back to us at whatever price makes the oil and gas industry the most profit.

“People in the UK overwhelmingly support moving to cheaper, renewable energy. This government should be prioritising making sure no pensioner, or family with small children is living in a cold, damp home this winter, not handing billions in tax breaks to obscenely wealthy foreign companies.”

Khan added that Rosebank is a “rip off” and added: “We shouldn’t have to fight this government for cheap, clean energy and a liveable climate, but we will.”

READ MORE: Suella Braverman claims multiculturalism has failed in EXTREME speech

The UK Government meanwhile welcomed the decision and said it has been subject to extensive scrutiny by regulators, including undergoing a detailed environmental impact assessment process.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho (below) said in response to the decision: “We are investing in our world-leading renewable energy but, as the independent Climate Change Committee recognise, we will need oil and gas as part of that mix on the path to net zero and so it makes sense to use our own supplies from North Sea fields such as Rosebank.

The National: Claire Coutinho is the UK's new Energy Secretary

“The jobs and billions of pounds this is worth to our economy will enable us to have greater energy independence, making us more secure against tyrants like (Vladimir) Putin.

“We will continue to back the UK’s oil and gas industry to underpin our energy security, grow our economy and help us deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner energy.”

An NSTA spokesperson said: “We have today approved the Rosebank Field Development Plan which allows the owners to proceed with their project.

“The FDP is awarded in accordance with our published guidance and taking net zero considerations into account throughout the project’s lifecycle.”