NICOLA Sturgeon has insisted that any new North Sea oil and gas developments should be blocked in absence of the UK Government bringing forward a “robust” climate compatibility test.

The UK Government is currently drawing up plans for a climate compatibility checkpoint to be required for new developments, but calls, including from the First Minister, have been made for this to be extended to existing licensed schemes such as the controversial Cambo oil field off the coast of Shetland.

Anger has also been raised over the Jackdaw oil field plans, which are expected to receive approval soon despite the proposals being previously rejected on environmental grounds.

In January, the UK Government approved the Abigail oil and gas field in the North Sea, while it is thought several new developments could start production without the climate test being applied.

The UK Government is set to open an new round of licensing for oil and gas projects in the autumn as part of its new energy security strategy.

Research by the campaigners Uplift claims that almost 50 projects could be approved between 2022 and 2025.

The First Minister, who previously said the Cambo plans should not go ahead, has now insisted that no new fossil fuels projects should be given the green light without a "robust" climate compatibility checkpoint being in place.

At First Minister's Questions, Greens MSP Mark Ruskell asked Ms Sturgeon about future oil and gas projects.

She told MSPs that her Government has told UK ministers that “to support our just transition to net zero, new offshore oil and gas licences should be subject to a stringent climate compatibility checkpoint”.

She added: “This should extend beyond new licensing rounds to also cover fields that are already consenting but are not yet in production.”

The appeal to extend the checkpoint to projects that already has been given a licence is backed up by the independent statutory advisers to both the UK and Scottish governments, the Climate Change Committee.

Ms Sturgeon warned that SNP ministers “haven’t yet seen any further detail on the proposed checkpoint” from the UK Government.

Mr Ruskell welcomed the First Minister’s “crystal clear response”.

He said: “Six months on from COP26, hundreds of new fossil fuels projects have been proposed globally that if realised, will cause our mutually assured destruction from climate change.

“The European Union know this – that's why they are backing renewables through a new multi-billion-pound investment.

“In contrast, the UK Government minister Kwasi Kwarteng is fuelling the rush to climate breakdown by relabelling dirty gas as green in an attempt to fast-track developments like Jackdaw.”

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created “short-term challenges” , but stressed that “all of our decisions must be consistent with that journey to net zero which is so necessary to safeguard the future of the planet”.

She added: “We must continue and not allow to go into reverse the progress that was made at Cop26.

“I was discussing this very issue with the United States climate envoy John Kerry earlier this week and I think there is a recognition there as there is here that that momentum must continue.

“The way to ensure energy security and also lower energy prices as well as to safeguard the planet is to make that shift to renewable and low carbon sources of energy. We can illustrate that right now in Scotland by the fact that already in our energy mix, the cheapest form of power is wind power. So it’s those investments in renewables that we must focus on.”

Tory net zero and energy spokesperson, Liam Kerr, claimed that a move from overseas to domestic oil and gas production, by ramping up North Sea extraction, is “actually progressing our journey to net zero”.

But Ms Sturgeon stressed that it would be the incorrect strategy “simply to replace one source of oil and gas with another source of oil and gas”.

She added: “It is to move away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy."

“The oil and gas companies recognise that too, which is why so many of them now are investing themselves in renewable energy.”

Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “After COP26, I asked the First Minister in this chamber if Cambo should go ahead and she rightly said that it should not get the green light.

“Is it also the First Minister's position that Jackdaw should not get the green light?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am very clear...that any new development whether that is a new licensing round or already consented developments that are looking for the go-ahead, have to have a robust climate compatibility checkpoint and in the absence of that, shouldn’t go ahead.”

Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, said:“The First Minister is right to highlight the impact on our climate of new oil and gas developments, like Jackdaw, which is a particularly polluting gas field.

The regulator has already rejected Shell's plans for Jackdaw due to the 'significant effect' on the climate from its emissions. Yet the UK Government wants to fast track this development without subjecting it to a credible climate test."