Majority back end of North Sea oil and gas production, survey suggests

The majority of Scots would back the end of North Sea oil and gas production, a new poll has suggested.

The figures, released by environmental charity Uplift, come amid claims from the Scottish Conservatives that a potential co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens could devastate the North East energy sector.

The poll, undertaken by ICM Unlimited, interviewed 2,312 adults, including 475 in Scotland.

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The majority of Scots back an end to North Sea oil and gas extraction.

It finds that two-thirds (66 per cent) of Scots would back the Scottish Government redirecting spending from oil and gas extraction in the North Sea towards renewable energy such as wind, solar and low carbon industries.

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) back financial backing for North Sea oil and gas employees who may required to re-train in the renewable energy sector, with just over half (53 per cent) stating there should be a concrete data set for the end of all oil and gas extraction.

Scottish Green co-leader and just transition spokesperson Lorna Slater welcomed the findings and attacked the Scottish Conservatives for “scaremongering”.

She said: “This survey is a blow for the Scottish Tories, who are scaremongering about a just transition while their UK Government continues to back new licenses and exploration for ever more oil.

“The public clearly recognise the urgency required to tackle the climate emergency and they want a plan.

"That means providing alternative futures for communities that rely on the fossil fuel industry now, by investing in Scotland’s huge renewable energy potential, not waiting until we’ve extracted every last bit of oil.

“The simple fact is this is not optional. Our future depends on us acting now and this poll shows the public provide a mandate for governments to do it.”

In May, the Scottish Conservative shadow Cabinet secretary for energy, Liam Kerr, claimed a pact between the Greens and the SNP could “jeopardise” the North East energy industry and criticised the Greens’ rejection of carbon capture technology.

He said: “By whatever name the SNP and Greens will call it, this coalition stands to jeopardise the North Sea energy industry’s future.

"An alliance with the Greens will drag the Scottish Government further and further away from protecting jobs and the needs of our economy on to their pet projects and impractical policies.”

Scottish Conservative shadow energy and net-zero secretary Liam Kerr said: “The climate emergency and our transition to net zero is one of the biggest challenges we are facing in the years ahead. However, we cannot simply abandon the 100,000 jobs that the oil and gas sector support in Scotland.

“We know that the Greens could well pull the plug on the sector as soon as next year without any sort of coherent plan to support these workers.

“The UK Government have committed £16 billion to support the sector into transitioning towards using cleaner and greener technologies. That will help us progress towards achieving a net zero society and support our economic recovery.

“The Scottish Conservatives will continue to stand up for vital jobs and livelihoods in our oil and gas sector, rather than threatening to scrap these critical roles as we continue to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.”

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