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Politics: Transition is key to our energy future

By David Porter

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I was delighted to congratulate local businessman Alan Gaul recently, on winning Rural Start-Up of the Year at the National Start-Up Awards.

As part of his family’s 200-year-old Little Whiterashes farming business, Alan and saw an opportunity to diversify so, back in January 2020 with the support of his family, he launched an offshoot business, drawing on his past experience in the agriculture plant and machinery industry.

Just three months later the pandemic hit and the massive increase in people being stuck at home proved a boon to the fledgling enterprise.

Now two years on from that point, the company has seen continued increase in its hire, supply and managed services which in particular cover forestry and firewood processing.

Congratulations also to Doric TV at the Doric Film Festival.

Doric TV won the group category for a film entitled, ‘Doric Future’, in which people of the north-east – including Councillor Mark Findlater and former MSP Peter Chapman – talk of their pride in Doric culture, past, present and looking to the future.

Energy Transition is already playing a huge part in the north-east’s economy.

The UK Government’s commitment to net zero is reflected in the £16 billion North Sea Transition Deal and the £41 million invested into the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen Project at St Fergus.

Following my own ongoing engagement with government and industry, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, agreed to come to Aberdeen to meet with key oil and gas industry leaders to discuss current and future challenges and opportunities.

The Chancellor heard about the industry's contribution to the energy security and energy transition while also discussing risks and incentives to investment in the North Sea.

Along with the announcement of a temporary Energy Profits Levy, The Chancellor also announced a new 80 per cent investment allowance.

I discussed with the Chancellor the need for this engagement to continue on a regular basis because our oil and gas industry is crucial to both our energy security and energy transition objectives.

I'm particularly pleased Mr Sunak had the opportunity to hear directly from leaders about the need for carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Last week, I was also delighted to welcome a delegation from the office of the Prime Minister of Singapore to the constituency, to visit CCS sites in Peterhead and St Fergus.

Last weekend also marked Armed Forces Day when we celebrate and commemorate the invaluable job our armed forces do 24 hours a day, 365 days a year defending our country and her interests.

As the UK continues to lead the effort to support our friend and ally Ukraine against the bloody aggression of Putin and his cronies, this is an ever more poignant reminder of what we all owe to all service personnel who serve our country and our allies.

Finally, I was pleased to speak in last week's second reading of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) BIll.

To be clear, gene editing is different from genetic modification because it does not result in the introduction of DNA from other species.

Rather, gene editing creates new varieties similar to those that could be produced more slowly by natural breeding processes.

I hope that the SNP Government can see a way to change their current position and join UK Government in this approach - which is seen as crucial to future of Scottish Farming and food production.

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