ALMOST two-thirds of Scots support the creation of a concrete plan to wind down the existing extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea and other waters around the UK, according to a new survey.

Such a plan supporting the retraining of workers in the sector is backed by 65% of Scots, with nearly three quarters (72%) saying they would back the UK Government offering financial support to workers in oil and gas to retrain in the renewable energy sector or other low carbon industries.

A further 66% believe the Government should redirect spending earmarked for North Sea oil and gas extraction to renewable technologies and low carbon industries.

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Three in five (60%) of SNP voters believe the UK Government should prioritise training and skills spending on renewable energy companies more than on oil and gas companies.

Across the UK, the survey of more than 2300 adults by ICM Unlimited, for the environmental charity Uplift, found 63% of people want the Government to switch billions of pounds of public money away from North Sea oil and gas and fund low-carbon industries consistent with its binding climate commitments.

The UK has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and is facing pressure to end support for new oil and gas as it hosts upcoming global summits – the G7 in Cornwall later this week, and COP26 in Glasgow in November – where climate change will take centre stage.

A report from the International Energy Agency last month said that to stay within 1.5C there must be no new investment in fossil fuel projects.

However, the Tory government has refused to rule out new licences for additional exploration for and production of oil and gas in the North Sea – while barely one in four (27%) people support such a move.

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Uplift founder Tessa Khan said: “This confirms the Prime Minister’s mandate to urgently shift support away from oil and gas and towards green industries like wind, solar and energy efficiency.

"By a large majority, the public wants a clear plan for winding down the industry and substantial support for oil and gas workers to retrain for other jobs. What the UK Government has delivered so far is heavy on rhetoric and woefully light on detail, including the requisite public support.”

Uplift is co-ordinating Paid To Pollute, an initiative supporting three environmental campaigners in a legal challenge against the Government over its support for producing North Sea oil and gas that is only economic because of tax breaks costing the public purse hundreds of millions a year.

Kairin van Sweeden, an SNP Common Weal organiser, daughter of a Scottish oil worker and a claimant in the case, said: “Spending billions propping up the oil and gas industry not only goes against international climate commitments – polling now shows that this goes against the wishes of the UK electorate too.”