Carbon capture: letter to UK Government

Letter from Deputy First Minister to Prime Minister following Spring 2023 budget announcement about funding for carbon capture storage.

To: Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
From: Deputy First Minister John Swinney

I am writing to you following the budget announcements yesterday (15/3/2023) regarding the announcement of the £20 billion funding for Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage in the UK.

I am bitterly disappointed that no reference was made to progressing the Scottish Cluster and the launch of Track 2 of the cluster sequencing programme. Since the UK Government’s illogical decision to not award the Scottish Cluster full Track 1 status in October 2021, we have been continually calling for a plan to deliver the Scottish Cluster, most recently in my letter to the Chancellor last Friday.

The Scottish Cluster is the only fully formed UK Cluster with a joined-up coalition ready and waiting for a greenlight to move forward. If progressed now its ambition is to capture and store more than 5 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 which is required to deliver the UK Government’s commitment to delivering the capture and storage of 20-30MT of CO2 per year by 2030. The Prime Minister has acknowledged the strength of the Scottish Cluster proposition and said that the UK Government looks forward to its continued participation in the CCUS programme

As you will be aware, the Scottish Affairs Committee last week called on the UK Government to “finally give Scotland’s Acorn carbon capture project the green light at next week’s Budget”. This echoes recommendations from the Climate Change Committee’s recent report on delivering a reliable decarbonised power system to include a minimum of 4 industrial CCS transport and storage clusters by 2030 at the latest (including Track 2) and that it is crucial that Government plans are “progressed urgently”’ We strongly support these recommendations and also those from the Mission Zero Review, particularly that the UK Government “must act quickly to re-envisage and implement a clear CCUS roadmap, showing the plan beyond 2030. As part of the roadmap, government should take a pragmatic approach to cluster selection. This means allowing the most advanced clusters to progress more quickly”. It is vital that the UK Government now confirms Track 2 clusters will be awarded this year and confirms the Scottish Cluster’s place in this process as further delays from UK Government are impacting investor confidence, jeopardising up to 20,000 jobs and compromising Scotland and the UK’s ability to meet our net zero commitments.

Scotland can’t afford any further delays from the UK Government. The UK Government must as a matter of urgency provide a concrete timeline that ensures Track-2 CCUS clusters are confirmed this year. My officials are available to provide any support you should require progressing this matter.

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