THE CHAIRMAN of the Scottish Government’s own just transition commission has told ministers he is “deeply concerned” over the SNP’s strategy to move oil and gas workers to renewable industries after it was revealed he has not been consulted on the plans.

The Scottish Government has published a just transition plan alongside its delayed energy strategy – setting out how the thousands of oil and gas workers will be moved into other energy industries as the North Sea sector declines.

Under the plans, Mr Matheson said that the number of green jobs will be increased from the 17,000 in 2019 to 77,000 by 2050.

Mr Matheson said there would be a “ramping up of jobs” before 2030 and expects a “further acceleration” after 2030.

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He said he could “understand some of the anxiety” of workers but pointed to a proposed skills passport that would allow people to “move between oil and gas and renewables” jobs.

It came after Aberdeen’s Chamber of Commerce claimed that his strategy represents a “betrayal” of North Sea workers.

Professor Jim Skea, who was appointed in December 2021 to the Scottish Government’s just transition commission has written to SNP Just Transition Minister Richard Lochhead, warning that he has not been consulted on the plans.

Professor Skea said he was “deeply concerned about the lack of evidence of adequate policy actions to deliver a just transition for the energy sector”, pointing to “the urgent need to shift gear in the rest of the 2020s”.

He added that a briefing received by government officials “does not constitute consultation on the plan”, adding that “we would not expect other parties to gain the impression we had been consulted”.

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Professor Skea said: “The commission wants to acknowledge the high-level briefing we received from officials on the draft currently under development.

“However, the view of the commission is that this high-level briefing does not constitute consultation on the plan, and we would not expect other parties to gain the impression we had been consulted.

“Commissioners devote time to the Commission because of its specific mandate and the value it adds by bringing together stakeholders from a multitude of perspectives to reach consensus on the challenge of a fair and just transition to net zero.

“Unless this is recognised through early engagement and consultation, members may form the view that direct responses to public consultation through their own organisations are the most effective way to inform policy, thereby losing the Commission’s consensus-building role.”

In response, Mr Lochhead acknowledge the commission’s “invaluable” work.

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He added: "We have made progress, but I am under no illusions about the amount of work that needs to be done to deliver on our collective hopes for Scotland.

“The commission’s role in shaping this is absolutely crucial and I would like to establish much closer personal involvement with your work as our approach to planning develops."

Mr Matheson denied that the commission had not been consulted.

He added: “There was engagement with them on the shaping of the just transition plan and the energy strategy.

“They fed into that particular process.”