PLANS for a gas field to be developed in the North Sea have been condemned by the Scottish Greens after it emerged approval of the project is "imminent".

It is understood approval for Shell's Jackdaw gas field, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, is close following's Russian decision to cut off gas supplies to a number of European countries, according to The Times.

The proposal, which could create up to £500 million worth of work in the northeast of Scotland supply chain, has been hit by environmental protests and government concerns about its carbon footprint which previously led to it being rejected.

Last month, activists blockaded the UK Government’s offices in Edinburgh to protest against the project.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the UK cannot carry on relying on gas and Scotland needs to use its "abundance of renewable potential".

He said: "The UK Government cannot keep making the same mistakes. Its over-reliance on gas has been disastrous for household energy costs and catastrophic for the planet. We cannot carry on with business as usual when we are living through a climate emergency.

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"Blue hydrogen is a fossil fuel industry fantasy that would lock us into gas production for decades. We do not have time to waste waiting on fossil fuel companies to manage their own transition. We have an abundance of renewable potential in Scotland, and we need to use it.

"We must reduce our reliance on gas, invest in clean heating systems and insulation and pave the way for a massive expansion in Scotland’s renewable energy capacity. By doing that we can have a just transition that works for people and the planet."

Blue hydrogen is when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 but the CO2 is captured and then stored. As the greenhouse gasses are captured, this mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet.

Shell has made some small amendments to reduce offshore carbon emissions by ensuring that gas from Jackdaw will come ashore at the firm’s St Fergus terminal near Peterhead, where a carbon capture storage (CCS) plant will be located and from which the energy giant plans to produce blue hydrogen for supply to homes and businesses across the UK.

The company - which withdrew from the controversial Cambo oil field project this year - believes the field will generate enough energy to heat 1.4 million homes.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As we set out ahead of COP26 last year, unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations and we continue to press the UK Government to urgently re-assess all approved oil licenses where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments. Ultimately these remain reserved matters.

“Our position has been supported by the UK and Scottish Government’s statutory advisers on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change, who agreed that any effective and credible checkpoint must extend beyond new licensing rounds to also cover those fields that have already been consented but are not yet in production.

“We are focused on achieving the fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector - one that delivers jobs and economic benefit, ensures our energy security and meets our climate obligations. That is why we are undertaking a programme of work and analysis to better understand Scotland’s energy requirements as we transition to net zero.”