THE Tories have been urged to U-turn on their snub of a Scottish carbon capture project by industry bosses ahead of COP26 and the Autumn Budget statement tomorrow.

The UK Government chose to back two sites in England as part of the first phase of funding for the Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) programme over a Scottish cluster based in Aberdeenshire.

The decision has been described as making no "economic or environmental sense" by oil and gas industry bosses that are looking to transition the North East away from fossil fuel extraction.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, senior representatives of ETZ Ltd (Energy Transition Zone), business and oil and gas bosses, told the Prime Minister that they were "hugely disappointed" in the UK's decision and urged them to reconsider funding the Scottish site.

READ MORE: Sir Ian Wood slams UK decision to snub Scots carbon capture scheme

They told Johnson that it had now "become clear" that key advantages of the Scottish Acorn Cluster based at St Fergus gas terminal did not factor into the decision to award the Track 1 funding of the £1 billion scheme that went to sites in Liverpool and on the Humber.

The advantages that the group highlighted were CO2 shipping which has been a priority of the Scottish cluster and is "critical" to support decarbonisation of areas like South Wales and London that do not have the resources available for offshore CO2 storage.

The National: The Scottish cluster plan would involve shipping carbon dioxide for storage offshore via St Fergus Gas Terminal in Aberdeenshire Picture PA

St Fergus (above) receives around 35% of the natural gas sent to the UK meaning it makes sense to have hydrogen generation in the North East as it makes "little rational sense" to transport the gas across the UK to manufacture hydrogen and then be sent back for sequestering in the North Sea.

The final advantage of the Scottish site presented in the letter was that of direct air capture with the Scottish bid looking to remove up to one million tonnes of CO2 every year through the technology.

The letter added: "Reaffirming the early progression of the Scottish Cluster would ensure the UK is home to the first and largest Direct Air Capture facility in Europe. This presents a huge manufacturing and export revenue potential for the UK."

Watch Nicola Sturgeon's pre-COP26 keynote speech on climate change

The Scottish Government has committed to investing £500m in the North East and Moray over the next 10 years in order to accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions and support highly-skilled jobs and livelihoods in the oil and gas sector.

Last week, in response to a letter from North East SNP MPs urging the UK Government to match the funding, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack ignored the request. 

SNP BEIS (business energy and industrial strategy) spokesperson and Aberdeen MP Stephen Flynn (below) described it as a “kick in the teeth” for the North East given it came just days after the Scottish Acorn Cluster was snubbed by the UK.

"Funding a phase one CCUS facility in the North East of Scotland and matching the Scottish Government's £500m Just Transition funding will show that the UK Government is serious about COP26 and tackling the global climate crisis.

"The UK Government had the opportunity to fund a CCUS in Aberdeenshire last week and chose not to take it - despite overwhelming evidence showing it makes economic and environmental sense to fund the Scottish Cluster now given the capacity for CO2 storage in the North Sea and the existing oil and gas infrastructure available.

The National:

"I am urging the UK Government to heed the backlash from across Scotland and today's letter from Scotland's business leaders, and U-turn on its decision not to fund the CCUS facility at St Fergus in phase one of its sequencing process. Doing so would be a huge step in our just transition journey.

"Indeed, the UK Government cannot properly play its part in the global fight against climate change if it does not put the North East of Scotland at the forefront of the Just Transition. Oil revenues that should have been ring-fenced for a Just Transition for the North East have been frittered away by successive Westminster governments - the least this Tory government can do now to make up for that is to heed our calls.

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“COP26 is due to be held in Glasgow just days after the UK Spending Review and will be an opportunity for Scotland to showcase our world-leading action to tackle the climate crisis.

“The SNP Scottish Government is doing what it can with the powers available, and setting world-leading net-zero targets - it is time for the UK Government to match this ambition, and use this spending review to show it is serious about the fight against climate change.”

The Scottish Government has an initial target of reducing all major greenhouse gases by at least 75% by 2030 which then raises to 90% by 2040 with an overall target of achieving net-zero by 2045 at the latest.

The letter to the Prime Minister was sent by ETZ Ltd and signed by its chairman Sir Ian Wood and chief executive Maggie McGinlay. It also included signatures from Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie, Scottish Council for Development and Industry chief executive Sara Thiam, CBI Scotland director Tracy Black, Net Zero Technology Centre chairman Martin Gilbert, IoD Scotland national director Louise Macdonald, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron, Opportunity North East chief executive Jennifer Crawe and Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Russell Borthwick.