Michael Gove has reiterated the UK Government’s consideration of a north-east oil and gas sector deal and confirmed he is exploring support for the city’s hydrogen project.
The Cabinet Office Minister paid a visit to Aberdeen on Tuesday where he saw the city’s hydrogen refuelling station at Kittybrewster, which he said offered a “brilliant example” of a local authority that has shown “real commercial innovation”.
The Conservative politician, who hails from the north-east, also committed to consider delivering support for the hydrogen project, which has seen the city acquire the largest fleet of buses powered by the green technology in Europe.
However, SNP MP Stephen Flynn, who represents Aberdeen South, said it amounted to little more than “positive words” with little specifics on a timetable for delivery of the deal.
Speaking in Aberdeen on Tuesday, Mr Gove said: “We’re looking at an oil and gas sector deal overall and I’m also exploring how we can use UK Government support for innovative projects like this.
“It seems to me that if we work hand in hand with local councils and with the Scottish Government then we can have a triple whammy.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing.“We can have local councils who are pioneers, a Scottish Government that will benefit from broader investment and a UK Government that sees one of the crown jewels in the UK economy, which is the north-east’s energy leadership, actually being used to bring a greater degree of prosperity not just to the region but to all of Scotland’s economy.”
Mr Gove’s trip to the north-east comes less than a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Orkney and the north, which the SNP said showed the UK leader was “in a panic” about rising support for Scottish independence.
However, Mr Gove denied this was the purpose of his visit, instead stating he had promised to speak with people in the hospitality sector in the north of the country, who are badly affected by the pandemic, and to take part in discussions with Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid on what the oil and gas sector can do to help with an “effective energy transition”.
He also used the opportunity to see his parents, who still live in the city, for the first time since lockdown.
“I saw them last night. We will be back to see them in Aberdeen with the family later in the month”, he said.
“It was the first time I’ve seen them since the pandemic.
“We’ve talked on the phone but it’s the first time I’ve seen them face to face.”
The Cabinet Office Minister was born in Edinburgh and, at four months old, was adopted by his parents Ernest and Christine in the Granite City.
Growing up in the north-east he said he had seen the “transformative impact” the oil and gas sector had on the “economic fortunes” of the region.
Studies have shown the region could be among the worst hit by Brexit but the Conservative politician maintains that the projections these make provide an “opportunity to look at policy and if…