CCS withdrawal an ‘unforgivable’ ‘kick in the teeth’

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A leading energy expert has criticised the Tory government after the Chancellor withdrew a £1 billion grant for the long-planned Carbon Capture and Storage scheme in Peterhead.

Dick Winchester, who served on Scotland’s Energy Advisory Board, called the withdrawal a “kick in the teeth” and “unforgivable”.

Mr Winchester said: “The successful demonstration of large scale carbon capture technology in Scotland could have been the catalyst to the development of a whole new Scottish industrial sector able to export services and hardware into what is a huge global market.

“In addition, the medium term potential for the Scottish chemical industry to build a product portfolio from recycled CO2 would have been immense.”

The Conservative Party made a manifesto commitment to deliver the £1 billion project ahead of May’s General Election.

The shock announcement to withdraw from that was not communicated in advance to the Scottish Government.

Mr Winchester said: “The cancellation of the Peterhead project is therefore not just an immediate kick in the teeth but it removes an opportunity to both grow and broaden out the Scottish economy.

“That’s really unforgiveable.”

Stewart Stevenson, MSP Banff and Buchan Coast, said: “Dick Winchester has significant experience in the global energy sector and his words chime with those of people in the North East and across Scotland who are rightly angry at the Tory chancellor pulling the plug on this crucial investment.

“George Osborne has swindled Scotland out of £1 billion – a fact that will certainly not be forgotten in a hurry by my constituents.”

The MSP called the decision an opportunity missed to create around 600 jobs in the community and to help Scotland make significant strides towards becoming the global leader in innovative technology to cut carbon emissions.

Mr Stevenson said: ““The bonus billion we were promised for Peterhead was, it seems, just a bogus billion from the Tories.

“And with mounting criticism from senior industry figures, the Chancellor’s position on Scottish energy is an utter disgrace.”