MPs have been urged to reject the UK Government’s “climate-wrecking” bid to force annual licensing rounds in the North Sea.

On Monday, the House of Commons will vote on the second reading of the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, legislation that led to one former Tory energy minister to quit as an MP and trigger a by-election.

The bill was due to be debated two weeks ago but was postponed due to discussions on the Horizon Post Office Scandal and Israel-Hamas conflict running over.

READ MORE: What does the Tories' 'raid' on North Sea oil and gas mean for Scotland?

The legislation will compel the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) to invite applications for new projects each year, rather than the current approach, when it does so when it feels appropriate.

Several new projects have been signed off in recent months, including the controversial oil field Rosebank and the Victory gas field near Shetland.

It comes after an analysis found that 80% of North Sea oil is exported outside of the UK and that while scores of new licenses have been granted, energy security has weakened.

And now, a further analysis by energy experts, electric vehicles could cut imports of petrol and diesel as much as granting new production licenses.

The National: Lorna Slater

Ahead of the Commons debate, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater (above) slammed the legislation as a “polluters charter” that will lead to “environmental destruction”.

“It is only a matter of weeks since the UK government joined with others at COP to call for a global shift away from fossil fuels,” Slater said.

“Now they are calling for even more of our North Sea to be sold off to fossil fuel giants “This bill is a polluter’s charter that would lead to decades of environmental destruction and do nothing for our energy security. It is utterly reckless and flies in the face of our climate commitments.

"It is telling that not even a single Scottish Tory MP has taken a stand against it.”

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Slater said investment should be made in green technology instead as there is no “time to waste”.

She added: “Scotland has thousands of skilled workers and resources that any country would envy. We need to be using them.

“In Scotland, we are making important progress, but it is being totally undermined by a Westminster government with its head in the past.

“Any MP that wants to leave any kind of positive environmental legacy must vote against this reckless and damaging bill.”

The National: Alok Sharma

COP26 president Alok Sharma (above) has been one of the critics of the bill, alongside former energy minister Chris Skidmore, who resigned. Climate campaigners have described the push for further oil and gas production a “pipe dream” and urged the Tories to reconsider.

It comes as the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said there are already about one million electric cars on British roads and a further 5.3 million are expected by 2030.

Starting this month, the Government’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate requires carmakers to sell an increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs), intended to speed up the process of people switching away from the combustion engine.

Those 6.3 million electric cars in 2030 would reduce demand for oil so much that it could have the same effect in cutting the amount of fossil fuels imported into the UK as the Government’s policy of allowing more drilling in the North Sea, according to the ECIU analysis.

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at ECIU, said: “The licensing debate only distracts from a more permanent solution to securing the UK’s energy independence which means building out British renewables more quickly to power homes and EVs as well as cutting energy waste by insulating roofs.

“The Government’s recent track record on some of these policy areas is less than stellar.”

UK ministers have already admitted the new legislation will not lower energy bills for households.