THE majority of Scots voters back the UK Government’s decision to grant a licence to the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea, a new poll has suggested.

In September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the field would be granted a licence, along with more than 100 other oil and gas developments.

The Tories have insisted that they want to “max out” the oil and gas in the North Sea in order to help reach net zero, despite the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, warning in 2021: “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf has also said that developing Rosebank, which as one of the largest untapped fields in the North Sea is estimated to contain up to 350 million barrels of oil, is the “wrong decision”.

READ MORE: Rosebank faces legal battle as UK Government hands oil giant 'massive tax break'

But a Savanta poll for The Scotsman newspaper found 51% of Scottish voters supported the decision to go ahead with the oil field, with 22% opposed and 27% saying they did not know or had no opinion.

Support was strongest among those aged 65 and over but all age groups were in favour.

Savanta polled 1002 adults in Scotland online between October 6-11.

Rosebank could produce 69,000 barrels of oil per day, about 8% of the UK’s projected daily output between 2026 and 2030, and could also produce 44 million cubic feet of gas every day, according to its owners, Ithaca Energy and Equinor.

A separate poll, conducted by YouGov in September, found that 42% of Scots would prefer to wind down North Sea oil and gas production, compared with 33% preferring to exploit all economically viable supplies.

When asked which energy source would best serve the UK’s energy security, 56% of the public chose more renewables, 20% chose more nuclear, and just 8% backed fossil fuels.

READ MORE: Only 10 per cent of people think more fossil fuels will cut energy bills, poll finds

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has tried to play both sides, saying that although they do not support the Tories’ decision to grant more oil and gas licences, they will honour them if they take over control of the UK Government after the next General Election.

Oil Change International previously said its analysis showed that the UK was on track to be among the five countries in the global north “responsible for the majority of new oil and gas extraction to 2050”.

Tessa Khan, the executive director of campaign group Uplift and a climate lawyer, has warned that "there are strong grounds" to believe the UK Government's Rosebank decision was unlawful and pledged legal action. 

Other campaigners hit out at the Tories' decision to hand a "multi-billion pound tax break" to the owners of Rosebank, "rather than help people in the UK suffering in fuel poverty".