The energy and climate department (DECC) is consulting on forcing the oil and gas industry to pay for the approval of decommissioning plans.
North Sea oil and gas production is declining. About 500 installations and 3,300 pipelines will be decommissioned over the next 30-40 years, at a cost of £24-30bn (ENDS Report, July 2010).
Such activities must be approved by the government under Part 4 of the Petroleum Act 1998. This provides for a charging regime, as yet unimplemented.