THE UK Government has been blasted for an "incomprehensible" lack of clarity over the timeline of a major carbon capture project.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s business energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) spokesperson pressed the Tories for urgent action over when Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) facilities will be established.

In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for BEIS, the Aberdeen South MP warned the UK Government it is leaving the industry "in the lurch".

Current UK Government policy is to have 4 CCUS sites in service by the mid-2020s (Track 1) with a further two to be delivered later (Track 2).

The Scottish cluster of projects, including the Acorn site in the North East of Scotland - an area industry leaders have described as “ideally placed” to become hubs for emissions busting technology - were put on the reserve, Track 2, list.

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Flynn has pressed the UK for urgent action to get new CCUS projects moving to secure energy jobs and hit the Government's net-zero targets.

The SNP MP said: “The Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) report was explicit that urgent action is required from the UK Government to progress carbon capture and it reiterated the economic and environmental case for carbon capture in the North East of Scotland – something that was clear when the UK Government snubbed the Acorn site for Track 1 status.

“Despite the need for urgent action, the UK Government has yet to announce the timetable for the track 2 process, leaving the industry in the lurch and our net zero targets in jeopardy.

The National: Carbon capture would stop emissions at source, instead of letting them go into the atmosphereCarbon capture would stop emissions at source, instead of letting them go into the atmosphere

“Reserve status for the Acorn site is utterly meaningless if there is no process laid out for progression and certainty that the UK Government will take the Scottish cluster forward.

“Warm words will not suffice because the lessons of the UK Government’s track record on North East carbon capture tell us that such words ultimately end in betrayal."

Carbon capture works by capturing carbon dioxide released at the source, rather than letting it spread into the atmosphere.

In the letter to Kwarteng, Flynn said the UK Government had failed to establish a clear timetable.

He said: "Given the undoubted importance of hitting net zero, and that obvious deliverability of CCUS in the North East, your government’s lack of clarity on key dates is incomprehensible."

The National: Kwasi Kwarteng has been told he needs to provide clarity over the timeline of a major carbon capture projectKwasi Kwarteng has been told he needs to provide clarity over the timeline of a major carbon capture project

He continued: "Quite simply, the delay in announcing the timetable is not good enough for our energy sector, it is not good enough for the North East, and it is not good enough for Scotland or the UK if we are to meet our emissions reduction milestones. 

"For this reason, it is imperative that clarity on the Track-2 timeline is published as soon as possible." 

The OEUK has warned the UK is at risk of losing the carbon capture industry, saying its supply chain is "fragile".

Katy Heidenreich, the OEUK’s supply chain and operations director, called on the UK Government to “seize the first mover advantage” by investing in the sector.

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She said: “Carbon capture and storage is going to be a key tool in our fight against climate change. It offers a huge opportunity for the UK supply chain to help energy-intensive industries cut emissions. 

“If we get this right, it could unlock £100bn-worth of work for UK manufacturing employers by 2050. This will support UK jobs, cut emissions, boost the economy, and develop skills which can be exported globally.  

“Northeast Scotland and Shetland are among the best-placed regions to take advantage of and benefit from these exciting new technologies.

“Lots of progress has been made, but without urgent action, the UK will miss out on the opportunity to secure a leadership position in this exciting new sector.”

BEIS have been approached for comment.