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First Minister's intervention in Aberdeenshire carbon capture project decision welcomed by MP

By Kyle Ritchie

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North-east MP Richard Thomson has welcomed the intervention from the First Minister in the UK Government’s decision not to support the carbon capture and storage project in Aberdeenshire at St Fergus.

Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister urging a rethink on the Scottish Cluster and an acceleration to Track 1 status.

Mr Thomson has previously given his backing to the Scottish Cluster Campaign, a cross-community, cross-business group which aims to create a unified voice for Scotland to progress along the decarbonisation journey.

It calls on the Scottish and UK Governments to take the actions needed for carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and other low carbon technologies to play their full part in meeting net zero goals.

The Scottish Cluster is backed by a wide range of advocates from industry and across local and regional communities, including Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, along with the Scottish Government.

Mr Thomson said: “This is a very helpful and welcome intervention from the First Minister and I am grateful to her for giving the project this further support.

“The UK Government’s recently launched Net Zero Strategy trebles the UK ambition for CO2 storage by 2030 from the target in its 2020 Ten Point Plan.

"Achieving this will clearly require as much carbon storage as possible, as quickly as possible, so the decision not to proceed now with St Fergus makes no sense.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

In her letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon states: “We remain convinced that the Scottish Cluster can play a vital role in our just transition, and in reaching our respective net zero goals by 2045 and 2050.

"We have offered to collaborate with the UK Government in supporting the Cluster on several occasions, including offering the Treasury the option to deploy funding from our Emerging Energy Technologies Fund (EETF).

"We stand ready to deliver on this commitment despite no response to this offer having been received to date.

“This is a pivotal moment for CCUS on our decarbonisation pathway and it requires a clear and coherent strategy to support UK-wide action on emissions reductions.

"To deliver on your climate change targets and ambitions, the UK Government should be funding all clusters capable of operating by the mid-2020s, including the Scottish Cluster.

"Now is the time to speed up, rather than slow down, activity in this area. This is a view shared with major industrial partnerships, and one I know Sir Ian Wood shared with you recently, when stating this decision makes no sense.

"I am therefore calling on you to enhance the decision on cluster sequencing by accelerating the Scottish Cluster to full Track-1 status.”

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