Disappointment is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the UK Government’s decision to snub the north-east’s Scottish Cluster bid.
This is not merely a case of hurt feelings. Many livelihoods and the future prosperity of the area hangs in the balance, as locals await support and encouragement from those who lead them. Further afield, the rest of the UK will be robbed of this collective’s invaluable knowledge and will not reap the benefits of it.
A race to transition to renewable energy is taking place and, with just a few years to get this massive change right, every second is absolutely crucial.
Scotland – and particularly the north of the country – is in a position of natural advantage when it comes to carbon capture, but valuable people are leaving the sector as a result of ongoing uncertainty. There is no more time to waste if we want to retain them.
Sir Ian Wood is right to insist that the government rethink its choice and, at the very least, add the Scottish Cluster to the Track 1 programme. But, as Sir Ian points out, as many clusters as possible should receive backing in order to encourage collaboration and make positive change as easy as possible for the entire UK.
If the Committee on Climate Change considers carbon capture and storage “a necessity not an option” for achieving net zero targets, then there is no sense in delaying the inevitable. Try as they might, the government will not convince anyone that the members of the Scottish Cluster are the wrong people for this task.
‘Levelling up’ must include Scotland
Reassurances that the north-east bid is likely to be considered for the next round of funding will not bring comfort to anyone involved.
The UK Government insists that it is already investing in Scotland’s switch to renewable energy and is committed to doing more. A sign of true commitment – far more effective than making paltry promises – would be to simply give the Scottish Cluster the green light and let the experts get to work.
There is no valid reason and no acceptable excuse for the decision not to approve the Scottish Cluster bid
If Boris Johnson is serious about “levelling up” every part of the UK, that must include Scotland. It is in the prime minister’s best interests to keep Scottish voters onside and to keep some of Scotland’s most brilliant technological and practical minds in the north.
There is no valid reason and no acceptable excuse for the decision not to approve the Scottish Cluster bid. We call on the UK Government to rethink this colossal mistake immediately.
The Voice of the North is The Press & Journal’s editorial stance on what we think is the most important story of the day