THE European Parliament is poised to reject calls for a moratorium on deep-water oil drilling following the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Politicians in Strasbourg are expected to approve a report today dismissing calls for a ban on all new drilling in EU waters as a “disproportionate reaction”.
The parliament’s environment committee had proposed a ban until the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been learned and the strictest safety standards imposed.
There was a question mark over whether it would have been binding on Britain, but it was seen as part of the drive to increase controls over the UK North Sea.
The parliamentary report, collated by East of England MEP Vicky Ford, says it has been acknowledged that the issuing of licences for oil and gas exploration is the responsibility of member states, as is any suspension.
However, licensing procedures must conform to certain common EU criteria and member states should apply the cautionary principle when issuing licences.
SNP MSP Alyn Smith said: “This draft report by Vicky Ford is a welcome contrast to last year’s rather hysterical reaction to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that came from some in the European Parliament.
“The introduction of an EU-wide moratorium on all new deep-sea oil drilling in EU waters was, and still is, a disproportionate reaction, and I am happy to see it spelled out as such.”
The Green Group at the parliament is expected to mount a last-ditch attempt to reinstate the moratorium, but Scottish MEPs are quietly confident the report will be accepted.