Guardian: ‘The British government is facing growing outrage from the European commission and five EU member states over its plans to leave some decommissioned oil rigs in the North Sea, with one senior German official describing the UK’s proposal as a “grotesque idea” that amounts to a “ticking timebomb”. Several hundred oil drilling platforms in the North Sea are due to be decommissioned over the next three decades as they approach the end of their operational lifetime.
Disassembling the enormous pieces of infrastructure, each of which can be as tall as the Eiffel Tower, is a costly undertaking, and this year the UK government is intending to endorse plans by Shell to leave behind one steel jacket and the concrete bases beneath three of the platforms of its Brent oilfield installation. The plans have raised alarm in Germany over the estimated 11,000 tonnes of raw oil and toxins remaining in the base of the three Brent installations, Bravo, Charlie and Delta, all erected in the East Shetland basin in the 1970s.
Germany issued a formal complaint, now backed by Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. On 18 August the European commission wrote to Theresa Villiers, expressing serious concerns and reminding the UK environment secretary that the content of the rigs’ storage cells qualifies as hazardous waste, according to EU law.’ Click here to read more