Greenpeace's legal challenge against the British government over its invitation to oil and gas explorers last year to apply for licences in the North Sea can proceed to a full hearing, a judge at London's High Court ruled on April 25.

Last year, Britain held its first oil and gas exploration licensing round since 2019, with the government saying it was looking to boost domestic hydrocarbon output as Europe weans itself off Russian fuel and after energy prices spiked.

Greenpeace says the government and the oil and gas regulator NSTA should take into account the emissions from burning the oil and gas produced as a result of the licensing round, rather than merely the emissions from the extraction process.

"I am delighted that there will be a full hearing," said Kate Harrison, Greenpeace's lawyer.

"Greenpeace says that the Secretary of State should have assessed the emissions from the consumption of the new gas and oil he was giving the green light to and the lawfulness of his decision not to will be fully aired."

In a written argument, the defendants' lawyers had said the government believed "there was an insufficient causal connection between the extraction of oil and gas and the downstream emissions arising from its consumption to enable a meaningful assessment of the environmental effects of the latter."