ENERGY Secretary Michael Matheson has slammed the UK Government for not consulting on a much-delayed energy strategy which will “lean heavily on Scotland’s energy resources in the years to come”.

The SNP minister said it was “completely unacceptable” that the Scottish Government was not engaged in the drawing up of the strategy, and revealed he was not given a copy ahead of its release.

The PM’s plan is part of a bid to reduce reliance on foreign oil and gas, and drive energy prices down.

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The key strands of the strategy include building more nuclear facilities, producing more north sea oil and gas and expansion of wind, solar and hydrogen too.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, later claimed there had been “quite a lot of engagement” with Scottish counterparts.

Matheson, speaking on Good Morning Scotland on Thursday, described the formulation of the strategy as “chaotic”.

Asked if he had a look at the study before it’s publication, he replied: “No I haven't.

“The UK Government haven't provided a copy of the strategy to the Scottish Government and they haven't engaged with us in the development of the strategy.”

The National: Matheson said the Scottish Government were not consulted on the energy strategyMatheson said the Scottish Government were not consulted on the energy strategy

“I realise that the development of this strategy has been somewhat chaotic given the coverage it's had in the press over the course of the last couple of weeks but despite having written to the UK government last month, setting out a range of actions that we believe that they should take and the fact that it will lean very heavily on Scotland's energy resources, it was critical that the Scottish Government were involved in the shaping of any strategy and consulted on its content.

“And sadly none of that's happened, which is completely unacceptable.”

Matheson added that he had met with UK minister for Energy Greg Hands but claimed the Tory MP wasn’t able to provide “any specific details other than broad headlines”.

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The SNP MSP added that in his view the strategy should have focussed on accelerating decarbonisation of the energy network, ramp up investment in energy efficiency programmes and the fast-tracking of projects like the Acorn Project, a carbon capture utilisation in St Fergus, Peterhead, which was snubbed in a £1 billion funding competition last year by the UK Government.

The Scottish Government allocated £80 million to the project in January this year.

BEIS minister Kwarteng also made an appearance on Good Morning Scotland on Thursday, and was asked about Matheson’s comments.

The National:

Kwarteng (above) said: “I think there was quite a lot of engagement with Scottish colleagues.

“I'm disappointed that Mr. Matheson has said what he has said.

“And of course, we've always engaged with colleagues in Scotland on the Net Zero strategy, which was published only a few months ago.

“We engaged again on the hydrogen strategy, and we've had plenty of conversations with Scottish colleagues in the run up to this strategy.”

It was put to Kwarteng that it was “not a good start” to the plans, as the UK will need to rely on the Scottish Government to implement some of the strategy.

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He replied: “I think it's a very good start indeed, actually. The strategy is managed really well. People appreciate the fact that it's important to have independence in the UK, energy independence, energy security, in a very uncertain world, and I think it's a very timely document.”

Nuclear energy is also a key strand of the proposals, something the SNP Scottish Government is opposed to, and Matheson reiterated.

Kwarteng was asked if the UK Government would “impose” nuclear on Scotland.

He said: “We have no plans to impose nuclear reactors in Scotland, as you say it's a devolved effect that's up to people in Edinburgh to decide what their nuclear policy is.”