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28 November 2011

Stevenson Extremely Concerned For Peterhead Project Following Treasury Raid On CCS Fund

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed his deep concern over the revelation that the UK Government Treasury will raid the £1 billion fund allocated to support the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. Following the decision to scrap plans to develop this technology at Longannet earlier this year, Peterhead power station had been widely considered to be in pole position to benefit from this funding.

However, in an interview on BBC Radio 5, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander revealed that the £1 billion fund will be diverted to support new infrastructure spending stating that “much of the money that we'd allocated to spend in this Parliament we've now reallocated to different sorts of projects.”

At the time the plans to fund a CCS plant at Longannet collapsed, UK Ministers promised that the funds would be ring-fenced for a new carbon capture competition and it was widely expected that the funds from this would be disbursed within this Westminster parliamentary term.

In 2007, previous plans to develop CCS technology at Peterhead collapsed following BP’s withdrawal from the project citing dithering and delay on the part of the UK Government.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“In 2007 Peterhead lost the chance to lead the world in developing Carbon Capture thanks to UK Government dithering and incompetence and it beggars belief that they may have just pulled the rug out from under plans to develop the technology there again.

“Delaying the distribution of funds until the next parliamentary term at the earliest is a significant and unexpected delay and the threat it poses to the future of Carbon Capture at Peterhead should not be underestimated.

“Just a few weeks ago, Scottish & Southern Energy and Shell signed a deal to store carbon dioxide from Peterhead under Shell’s Goldeneye field and real progress towards a CCS project at Peterhead was being made. At a stroke, the UK Government has now put all that in jeopardy.

“I am absolutely appalled by the way that the UK Government has yet again let down people in Banffshire & Buchan Coast. It has been estimated that a CCS project in Peterhead would create up to 937 jobs and be worth £130 million every year over the course of its lifetime. There will be real anger in Peterhead and the wider area if this project now does not proceed.

“History seems to be repeating itself and a UK Government is once again displaying incompetence on a breathtaking scale.”

Stewart Stevenson
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