September 29, 2023

Rishi Sunak: Reverse your Rosebank oil field decision

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street



28th September 2023

Rosebank oil field decision

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing as a group of organisations, interest groups and businesses from across the UK, who together represent millions of British citizens united in a vision for a Britain which grasps the opportunities of net zero, the transition away from fossil fuels, and who want to see nature and our precious oceans thrive. 

We want communities and regions across the UK to benefit from warmer insulated homes, secure and future-proofed jobs, cheaper and cleaner energy and an environment bursting with life. We want the UK to once again lead internationally, showing the tangible benefits of a just transition away from fossil fuels, and treasuring our marine environments. 

We are therefore dismayed by the UK government's decision to approve the Rosebank oil field, and urge you to reconsider. Rosebank alone has the potential to produce 500m barrels of oil equivalent, enough to produce as much CO2 as the annual CO2 emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries combined - many of which are already suffering the worst effects of climate breakdown, such as countries in the Horn of Africa, which are experiencing a deadly hunger crisis due to severe and prolonged drought. With this decision, the government is locking the UK into yet more fossil fuels, just as we must be accelerating away from them. 

Further, the impact that this vast development will have on the marine environment for hundreds of miles around the site could be devastating, ranging from the destruction of precious marine habitats through to disruption of dolphins and whales, as well as potentially compromising fisheries that are already struggling to avoid collapse due to overfishing. Rosebank therefore poses an unacceptable risk to not only the unique and precious wildlife that lives in UK seas, but also the communities that depend on them. This decision makes a mockery of the promises we’ve made globally to protect 30% of our land and seas by 2030.

At a time when so many households across the UK are struggling with the cost of living, Rosebank’s owners Equinor and Ithaca Energy are set to receive a tax break worth £3.75 billion. Whilst the UK government rightly wants to secure energy supplies, Rosebank is 90 percent oil likely for export. The best way to secure energy, and to bring down bills is to rapidly expand energy efficiency measures whilst boosting reliable and cheap renewables in harmony with nature’s recovery.  

We urge you to listen to the science, and leading institutions such as the International Energy Agency, and IPCC and end new fossil fuel developments. We urge you to instead set the UK on a trajectory for a cleaner, brighter and secure future. 

Yours sincerely,

Tessa Khan, Director, Uplift 

Dr Amy McDonnell & Oliver Sidorczuk, Co-Directors, Zero Hour UK

Isaac Beevor, Co-Director, Climate Emergency UK

Hannah Martin & Fatima Ibrahim, Co-Directors, Green New Deal Rising

Jemima Hartshorn, Founder and Director, Mums for Lungs

Hugo Tagholm, Executive Director and Vice President, Oceana in the United Kingdom

Sam Ward, Head of Climate Cymru 

Dr Karen Barrass, Founder and Director, Climate Insights

Nigel Harris, CEO, Tearfund

Robert Palmer, Tax Justice UK

Demi Taylor & Chris Nelson, Co-Directors, London Surf / Film Festival

Joanna Ruxton MBE

Harry Eckman, CEO, World Cetacean Alliance 

Lauren MacCallum - General Manager - Protect Our Winters UK

Natalie Fee, Founder, & Harriet Bosnell, CEO - City to Sea 

Revd Dr Darrell D. Hannah, Chair, Operation Noah

Daniel Winterstein, Director, Good-Loop Ltd

Mary Rice, Executive Director, EIA UK 

Carmen Martinez, Coordinator, Scottish Women’s Budget Group 

Jo Pike, CEO, Scottish Wildlife Trust

David Hillman, Director, Stamp Out Poverty 

Lizzy Roberts - Director, Seahorse Environmental

David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs, The MCS Foundation 

Louise Hazan, Co-Director, Tipping Point UK

Jacki Sime - Director, Pembrokeshire Seal Research Trust

Giles Bristow, CEO Surfers Against Sewage 

Claire Wallerstein, Director, Cornwall Climate Care

Peter Kelly, Director, Poverty Alliance

Aileen McLeod, Interim Director, Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland

Dr Shanon Shah, Director, Faith for the Climate

Sally Hamilton, CEO, ORCA

Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Rev Ruth Harvey, Leader, the Iona Community

Linzi Hawkin, Founder, Protect Blue

Johan Frijns, Executive Director BankTrack, Netherlands 

Sophie Cowen, CEO, Switch It Green

Shane Tomlinson and Nick Mabey, co-CEOs, E3G 

Maya Mailer, Co-Founder, Mothers Rise Up 

Bex Band, Founder and Director, Love Her Wild CIC

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive, Keep Scotland Beautiful

Angus Hardie, Director, Scottish Community Alliance

Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles, Co-Executive Directors, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Paul Coulson, Director of Operations, Institute of Fisheries Management

Dr Cal Major, CEO, and Lorna Evans, COO, Seaful

Chris Butler-Stroud, CEO, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Craig Dunn, COO, SCCAN (Scottish Communities Climate Action Network)

Tom Clark, CEO, Climate Acceptance Studios

Sam Oliveira, Director, Reform Radio

Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want

Professor Peter Newell, Sussex university and research director, Rapid Transition Alliance

Sophie Marple, Co-founder MCAN

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Mary Gutierrez, Director, Earth Action, Inc. United States

Thomas Meinert Larsen, campaign coordinator, AnsvarligFremtid, Denmark

Hirra Khan Adeogun, co-director, Possible

Janis Patterson, Co-ordinator, Ullapool Sea Savers

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive, RSPB

Areeba Hamid and Will  McCallum Co-Executive Directors Greenpeace UK

Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director, Oil Change International

Carys Boughton, Campaign Coordinator, Fossil Free Parliament

Dan Jarvis, Director of Welfare and Conservation, British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Alison Lomax, Director, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust

Lorraine Currie, Director of Integral Human Development, SCIAF

Nick Marple, Co-founder, Gower St

Helen Meech, Executive Director, The Climate Coalition

Jessica Kleczka, Director of Research, New Zero World

Becky Kenton-Lake, Coalition Manager, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Ruth London, Director, Fuel Poverty Action

Frances Fox, Founder & UK Director, Climate Live

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO, Wildlife & Countryside Link

Roger Mortlock, CEO, CPRE, the countryside charity

Steve Trent, CEO, Environmental Justice Foundation

Sophie Neuburg, Director, MEDACT

Lieutenant-Colonel Alan M Read, Secretary for Business Administration, The Salvation Army UK and Ireland

Simon Francis, Coordinator, End Fuel Poverty Coalition

Sarah McArthur, Tom Wilson and Emily Marsay, Directors, UKYCC

Rowan Ryrie, Co-Founder, Parents for Future UK

Liz Murray, Head of Scottish campaigns, Global Justice Now

Elaine Mulcahy, Director, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Melissa Green, Chief Executive, National Federation of Women’s Institutes (The WI)

Gwen Hines, CEO, Save the Children UK

Sandy Luk, CEO, Marine Conservation Society

Sampson Low, Head of Policy, UNISON

Stephen Smellie, Depute Convenor, UNISON Scotland

Catherine Pettengell, Executive Director, Climate Action Network UK (CAN-UK)

Jan Shortt, General Secretary, National Pensioners Convention

Cathy Runciman, Executive Director, EarthPercent

Alison Stuart, Director, Aberdeen Climate Action

Zanagee Artis, Executive Director, Zero Hour International

Gillian Needham, Chair, NESCAN Hub

Laura Clarke, CEO, ClientEarth

Laura D’Henin-Ivers, Co-Director, Hope for the Future

Tom Kay,  Founder, Finisterre

Will Sheane, CEO, Finisterre

Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO, Oxfam GB

Kate Norgrove, Executive Director, Advocacy and Campaigns, WWF-UK

James Wallace, CEO, River Action

Dominic Kavakeb, CO-Director of Campaigns, Global Witness 

Equity for a Green New Deal

Claire O’Neill, CEO, A Greener Future (AGF)

Beth Thoren, Environmental Action & Initiatives Director, EMEA Patagonia

Cara Naden, Director Avalon Community Energy, Somerset Climate Action Network, Zero Carbon World

Frances Guy,  CEO, Scotland’s International development Alliance 

Augusto Duran Duran, Coordinador regional para el Tratado sobre Combustibles Fósiles, MOCICC

Olivia Fuchs, Eco Dharma Network coordinator

Robin Wells, Director Fossil Free London

Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management (CECIC)

Matthew Hay, Director, Reforesting Scotland