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Swinney under pressure on future of North Sea oil and gas

SCOTTISH First Minister John Swinney is caught between old colleagues in Alba and the Scottish Greens on the future of North Sea oil and gas.

The SNP-Green Scottish government had held a policy of a presumption against new fossil fuel production, but after the coalition’s break-up and a change of SNP leader, the Scottish Greens fear it could be abandoned.

Calling for clarity ahead of the long-delayed publication of the Scottish government’s Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, Green climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “We are at a crossroads for our planet.

“Nothing other than a phasing out of oil and gas and a rapid acceleration towards a renewables-led transition for the industry makes sense economically or environmentally.

“I hope that the new First Minister will urgently and very clearly reaffirm his commitment to a presumption against new fossil fuel exploration and join us in calling for the UK government to drop damaging projects like the Cambo oil field and support our just transition to a cleaner, greener Scotland.”

While Mr Swinney’s Green ex-coalition colleagues have called for an affirmation of the policy, however, his former SNP Cabinet colleague, Alba MP Kenny MacAskill, called for it to be ditched, telling the Star: “There’s no doubt that Sunak’s plans to extract every last drop as fast as possible neither benefits workers nor our planet.

“It’s a Just Transition that’s needed for workers and our world.

“Oil is required for the plastics and to fuel the engines to deliver the brave new world and retaining a skilled work force for the new technology is essential.

“The Green agenda is harming the chance to make that just transition.

“The Scottish government must bin this nonsense and work with those seeking to transition but justly.”

The Scottish government was contacted for comment.

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