Yellowhammer: No-deal Brexit would undermine domestic oil industry, official document reveals

A no-deal Brexit would likely result in the closure of two UK oil refineries, along with petrol shortages and higher electricity prices, the Government's so-called Yellowhammer dossier has revealed.

The impacts detailed in the document are classed as a "plausible" "worst-case scenario" in  the event of no-deal

The impacts detailed in the document are classed as a "plausible" "worst-case scenario" in  the event of no-deal

Published after MPs voted in favour of making the document public on Monday (9 September), the six-page dossier outlines what the Government believes will happen in a “plausible” but “worst-case” no-deal scenario.

Michael Gove, former Environment Secretary and incumbent Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had said ahead of the vote that the publication of the document would be “inappropriate in principle and in practice”, and “would on its own terms purport to require the government to contravene the law, and is singularly unfair to the named individuals”.

However, MPs voted 311 to 302 in favour of its publication.

Alongside measures regarding immigration, citizenship and access to healthcare, the document lays bare the likely impacts of a no-deal Brexit on the water and energy sectors, as well as on sustainable fisheries.

On energy, the document states that there will be no disruption to the UK’s electricity and gas interconnectors, meaning that national energy demands will continue to be met.

However, it touts “significant” increases in the cost of electricity, for both business and domestic consumers, as a result of “wider economic and political impacts”. These rising costs, it notes, will hit low-income areas and households the most, including those already affected by fuel poverty.

With regards to water, the dossier states that services offered by the water industry are likely to remain “largely unaffected” and states that the most likely point of failure will be in the chemical supply chain. The chances of such a failure happening, it claims, are “considered low” – but such an event, it adds, would likely affect hundreds of thousands of people.

Nothing is specifically mentioned in the dossier in regards to oil. However, many political experts and investigative reporters have published the document’s only redacted paragraph online, which appears to address this topic.

The excerpt circulating in this community states: “Tariffs make UK petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive.

“Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability, but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans.”

It goes on to detail that this financial challenge will likely lead to the permanent closure of two refineries, resulting in strike and protest action, and, consequently, disruptions to fuel availability in some areas.

Responding to the document, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said that “it is now more important than ever” for parliament to be recalled and scrutinise the documents to prevent a no-deal scenario before 31 October.

However, Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has dismissed the document’s contents as “scaremongering”.

Readers interested to learn more about how Brexit is likely to impact the green economy and green policy are encouraged to download edie’s free Brexit matrix, or to listen to our Sustainable Business Covered podcast's special episodes on the topic.

Sarah George


Brexit | Fuel poverty | Green Policy | water


Renewables | Green policy

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