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Plans to allow oil and gas exploration in the North Sea will be “good for the environment”, the UK’s climate minister has said.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, said the move was “entirely compatible” with climate targets.

More than 100 licences could be issued for the coast off Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk.

The Green Party said that global warming targets would only be met “if we leave fossil fuels in the ground”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Stuart said: “Actually it’s good for the environment, because when we burn our own gas it’s got lower emissions around its production than foreign gas… as well as supporting British jobs.

“So you really can be assured that it’s actually – I know it sounds contradictory – but it’s actually good for the environment that we are going to produce more of our gas and oil at home.”

In a bid to encourage production of new oil and gas supplies as quickly as possible, the North Sea Transition Authority has identified four “priority cluster areas” in the southern North Sea which are known to contain hydrocarbons and are close to existing infrastructure, giving them the potential to be developed quickly.

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “The Government’s claim that burning ever more fossil fuels from the North Sea will help the UK meet its international obligations to become net-zero by 2050 has no connection to reality – we truly have stepped through the looking glass.”

The Green Party also said any new production, even if fast-tracked, would not be available for years and so would not help to address the current crisis.

Source: BBC

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