With the deadline for Britain’s exit from the bloc growing nearer, European Union and five of its member nations raised another concern, i.e. against the UK’s plan to leave behind the expired oil rigs in the North Sea. The bloc members criticized the country’s attitude towards the decommissioned oil rigs as irresponsible and ‘grotesque’.
Germany filed a formal complaint, along with other member states including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, against Britain’s plan to leave the rigs untreated. Last month, the European commission reminded Theresa Villiers, the UK environment secretary of the EU laws and how the drills’ storage cells formed part of hazardous waste, contaminating the water of the North Sea.
It all started when UK government-supported UK-Dutch energy giant, Shell’s, plan to leave enormous pieces of oil drilling infrastructure, which were expired or about to expire, in the North Sea over the next 30 years. The Guardian reported that Britain supported the oil company’s move despite increasing awareness for climatic and environmental crisis around the world.
The company had been running away from dismantling those hundreds of pieces of oil drilling setup, each of which would be as tall as the Eiffel Tower, due to the heavy costs incurred by the same. According to the EU, what was appalling was the UK government’s silence. The British government did not raise any objection against Shell’s plans to leave behind one steel jacket and the concrete bases beneath the platforms of three of its Brent oilfield installation.
Jochen Flasbarth, a state secretary at the German environment ministry said, “I’m genuinely taken aback by this. We usually collaborate very closely with the United Kingdom on environmental issues.“Both countries are gravely concerned about the state of our oceans … And then you just leave thousands of tonnes of contaminated water in the North Sea? I don’t get it. That isn’t consistent with an environmental policy that has advanced Britain’s reputation.”