A Brussels bid to seize control of the safety regime for the North Sea’s oil and gas industry has been rejected by MEPs.
The controversial plans for EU-wide rules for the sector had been opposed by industry leaders, trade unions and both the Holyrood and Westminster governments.
Last night, they were celebrating “a victory for commonsense”.
The European Commission unveiled plans to enforce its own rules after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
It also claimed the gas leak on Total’s Elgin platform in the North Sea earlier this year underlined its case for blanket health and safety regulations.
Critics said that if approved, the EC proposals would have dismantled the UK’s world-leading safety regime and cost the North Sea industry billions of pounds.
UK MEPs tabled a series of amendments to protect the country’s health and safety standards, which were backed by the commission’s industry, research and energy (ITRE) committee yesterday.
MEPs voted 48 to seven in favour of replacing the regulation with a directive, which will allow UK authorities to incorporate new rules into their own system.
Malcolm Webb, chief executive of industry body Oil & Gas UK, said: “We strongly believe this is the best way to achieve the European Commission’s objective of raising offshore safety standards across the EU to the high levels already present in the North Sea.
“A regulation would do exactly the opposite and weaken the UK’s already world-class offshore health and safety regime.”
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said North Sea countries already led the way in offshore regulation.