A NET zero hub centred on the Firth of Forth is “key” to achieving the country's climate goals, it is claimed in a new study.

Research from global natural resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie found that the development of net zero hubs around the UK is a central strand of the strategy towards achieving net zero by 2050.

It said Scotland, which has a 2045 net zero target, could advance its ambitions by establishing a net zero hub on the Firth of Forth.

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Malcolm Forbes-Cable, Wood Mackenzie vice president, consulting, said the country had a running start due to the success of the offshore wind sector.

“The Firth of Forth area is Scotland’s major industrial cluster,” he said. “The area is responsible for more than 10 per cent of Scotland’s emissions but is critical to the Scottish economy.

“Establishing a net zero hub on the Firth of Forth would complement the development of Scotland’s net zero roadmap, and become a key element of national efforts to deliver net zero.”

Charles Hammond, group chief executive at Forth Ports, said the report’s conclusions are “timely and incisive”.

He said it aims to create a “greenport hub” that would provide energy jobs and help tackle deprivation around port sites. He said: “This is already under way in Leith where we have announced a privately financed £40 million investment in a renewable energy hub at the port."

Wood Mackenzie said the Firth of Forth encapsulates the challenges the UK and Scotland face to decarbonise, but also the opportunities that will emerge in a low-carbon economy. Mr Forbes-Cable said: “Scottish industry currently emits about 10.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and the Firth of Forth accounts for about 10% of Scotland’s total emissions. At the same time, the industries in the region host the skills necessary to address the technical and commercial challenges faced in delivering net zero."