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21 September 2017

(S5O-01275) Carbon Capture and Storage (St Fergus)

1. Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what the timescale is for a feasibility study into developing carbon capture and storage at St Fergus. (S5O-01275)

The Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy (Paul Wheelhouse): The acorn CCS project will be officially launched in Aberdeen on 26 September 2017. The launch will signal the formal start of the feasibility stage of the project which is anticipated to last 18 months. The acorn project is managed by Pale Blue Dot, an energy transition consultancy that is based in Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

Stewart Stevenson: I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to the St Fergus project. Does the minister share my disappointment in the United Kingdom Government’s anti-carbon capture and storage inaction at St Fergus and its proactively hostile actions at Peterhead? Does that put at risk an opportunity that would not only benefit the environment, but create jobs and boost the economy across Scotland?

Paul Wheelhouse: I agree with Stewart Stevenson’s assessment that the UK Government’s decision to scrap the £1 billion carbon capture and storage programme, which included a strong commitment to Peterhead, is a disgrace and a lost opportunity for Scotland and the UK. Had the competition been allowed to run its course, the world’s first commercial-scale gas-powered CCS plant could have been built at Peterhead and the world’s attention would have been drawn to Scotland and the UK as a trailblazer in that technology. Unfortunately, the first mover advantage has been lost to some extent. Undoubtedly it would have attracted significant investment to the UK, bringing with that further opportunities for job creation and skills development, potentially positioning the UK to take its place in the supply chain for Europe of that important technology.

It is worth emphasising that the need for CCS remains. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that it would cost 138 per cent more to achieve a 2°C climate change mitigation scenario without carbon capture and storage. Despite the clear need for CCS, all UK Government efforts to date to bring forward the technology have failed. Given that track record of failure—in the rest of the UK as well as Scotland—it is now essential that the UK Government sets out a clear and robust policy framework, hopefully working with the Scottish Government and others who want to support the technology, in its soon-to-be-published UK clean growth plan.

12 September 2017

Statement: Policing

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I declare that I have a close family member who serves in the Police Service of Scotland.

Does the cabinet secretary agree that we require the highest standards of personal integrity for everyone who works in the Police Service? I understand that he is to address the Police Service’s conference on ethical standards on Tuesday next week. Does he expect that he will be able to congratulate all who attend on their continuously high standards of ethical behaviour, and on the commitment to public good that is exemplified by all but the tiniest of tiny minorities in the service?

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Michael Matheson): I am impressed that Stewart Stevenson has such insight into my diary for the coming week. I will attend that conference to address it on ethical standards in policing.

The vast majority of our police officers and staff uphold very high ethical standards in discharging their responsibilities. I would expect that of not just police officers and staff in Police Scotland but of anyone in the public sector and beyond. I have absolutely no doubt that that will continue to be the case with officers and staff in Police Scotland, as the organisation moves forward.

Stewart Stevenson
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