Boris Johnson’s energy strategy that could lead to a new dash for gas and oil in the North Sea has been delayed again.
The Prime Minister promised the plan as an alternative to western reliance on Russian energy imports in early March.
But it is reported that the chancellor Rishi Sunak is opposed to extra spending.
The PM’s spokesman confirmed on Monday that the plan was shelved despite Johnson telling the Commons three weeks ago that it would be ready “in the course of the next few days”.
The Downing Street spokesman said: “It’s important that we get these things right. It’s a significant piece of work that takes time to develop.
“We will set out our plans for publication as soon as possible.”
The official refused to say whether the strategy will be published during the Commons Easter recess, which begins on Thursday and runs until April 19.
The PM’s spokesman added: “This is a strategy for the long term energy security of the United Kingdom and it’s important it has the right approach.
“This will be something that affects the UK for a number of years so it’s right that we take the right amount of time to do it.”
The pre-election “purdah” period ahead of local government elections, when major government announcements are banned, could mean a two-month delay.
The Financial Times reported that Rishi Sunak was refusing to sign off on the extra costs associated with new nuclear and wind power projects, as well as government action to protect industry from soaring costs.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has refocused attention on the North Sea oil and renewables although the UK imports only three per cent of its energy needs from Russia.
Energy giant Shell is reportedly reconsidering its decision to pull out of the controversial Cambo oilfield off the coast of Shetland.
The proposed development was paused in December 2021 after the oil firm decided to withdraw its support from the project, concluding the economic case for investment was “not strong enough”.
Environmental groups have long opposed the massive 800 million barrel field and in November Nicola Sturgeon, who leads an SNP coalition with Green MSPs, said the project should not go ahead.
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