UK ministers have been criticised for “pouring billions of pounds of public money into unproven technology” by pressed ahead with nuclear fusion investment.

The warning comes after North Ayrshire lost out on becoming the site of the UK’s first fusion energy plant having been shortlisted.

The North Ayrshire plant would have struggled to receive permission, given the Scottish Government remains ideologically opposed to the use of nuclear power.

Energy policy is reserved to the UK Government but Scottish ministers can effectively veto plans to build power stations in Scotland through planning regulations.

At a Scottish Conservative reception at the party’s conference in Birmingham, Prime Minister Liz Truss told delegates that the UK will continue “using our resources in the North Sea” and by “building new renewables power stations”.

She added that she would focus on “encouraging Nicola Sturgeon to invest in nuclear power stations”.

SNP Energy Secretary Michael Matheson had repeatedly insisted the Scottish Government does not back nuclear power, including nuclear fusion - instead focusing on renewables.

The Scottish Greens have warned that the £220m of investment in nuclear power by the UK Government is wasted.

Greens environment and energy spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, said: "The climate emergency is happening all around us, we don't have time to waste by pouring billions of pounds of public money into unproven technology.

“Fusion may have a role in the future, but there is a long way to go before we will know if it is safe or viable. We cannot pin our hopes for decarbonising our economy on technology that is still years away.

“Nor can support for fusion technology undo the terrible damage that is being done by an energy policy that is based on fossil fuels and the dirty energy sources of the past.”

He added: "This may not directly impact Scotland, but we all have an interest in governments across the UK taking effective climate action rather than throwing away the little time that we have left.

“Many of the clean technologies that could make a real difference already exist. The UK government should instead focus on the major investment we need in renewables and in building an energy sector that works for people and the planet.”