The environmental group said it filed a suit in the Royal Courts of Justice seeking a ban on all new activity until the causes of BP's Deepwater Horizon accident are fully understood, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
More than 20 licenses have been issued for new deepwater drilling around Britain despite the Gulf of Mexico explosion that killed 11 men and poured millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, the newspaper said.
"The government is handing out oil drilling licenses left, right and center as if the Deepwater Horizon disaster never happened. And they've got to stop," John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director, said.
Greenpeace argues the drill sites are too close to environmentally sensitive areas that are home to protected species, and that the government has failed to review environmental regulations since the BP accident.
"The oil industry is drilling in riskier and more dangerous places in U.K. waters, where a spill could be a disaster for wildlife," Sauven said.
Chris Huhne, Britain's energy secretary, denies that, saying, "It's clear that our safety and environmental regulatory regime is fit for purpose," and noting the United Kingdom has doubled inspections since the Deepwater Horizon accident.