The SNP minister responsible for cleaning up Grangemouth has insisted that the industrial hub will grow its contribution to the economy amid "profoundly ambitious plans" to decarbonise the site.

The Scottish Government has pinpointed Grangemouth for special attention as part of efforts for the country to reach net zero by 2045.

Mairi McAllan, the Scottish Government’s Net Zero and Just Transition Secretary, has told The Herald that the site, which includes oil refineries and chemicals plants, will be cleaned up through the use of carbon capture and storage and renewable hydrogen technology.

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But concerns remain over the viability of the technologies, as yet untested at a commercial scale.

Speaking after meeting with Ineos, Scotland’s largest private polluter at Grangemouth, Ms McAllan told The Herald that she is aiming for the site to maintain or even increase its contribution to the Scottish economy.

Asked if it is even possible to clean up Scotland’s largest source of pollution, Ms McAllan, said: “I think it can be done.”

She added: “The two statistics that are really sticking out is Forth Ports saying 30 per cent of GDP comes through here and we have 40% of industrial emissions.

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“Those two figures alone I think embody the need for the just transition.

“We need those emissions to go down. We want the GDP to go up. I would like to see it grow, never mind, stay at 30%.

“So we had a really good meeting with Ineos.

They took us through their profoundly ambitious plans - they're aligned with the Scottish Government for 2045.

“And a lot of that is based on investment in hydrogen and CCUS. Scotch cluster.”

Asked whether her Government has an alternative strategy for Grangemouth if carbon capture technology does not come to fruition in time amid a funding row with the UK Government, Ms McAllan insisted “we are not putting all our eggs in that basket”.

She added: “We’re looking right across the piece to decarbonising.

“CCUS (carbon capture, utilisation and storage), the Climate Change Committee have been clear that that's absolutely critical to net zero.

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“I watched a video this morning actually of work that's being done at Antwerp on CCUS and I think there is pretty widespread recognition that it can work, that it will work and that it's critical to what we're doing.”

But it comes as the chairman of the Scottish Government’s just transition commission has vented his “frustration” over the relationship with SNP ministers.

Professor Jim Skea has told MSPs that his commission, set up by the Scottish Government, has endured “a degree of frustration” around the “lack of pace and detail” in the energy strategy, published earlier this year.

Previously, Professor Skea wrote to then SNP just transition minister, Richard Lochhead, warning that he was “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 just transition chairman admitted that his organisation has not yet had time to consider the proposals to clean up Grangemouth.

He said: “We honestly have not discussed the Grangemouth plan at all…at this particular stage."

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The Forth Green Freeport vision hopes to create up to 50,000 new green jobs and become a focus for new green technologies and renewable energy manufacturing in Scotland.

Forth Ports believes the initiative will unlock £6 billion of private and public investment into industries including sustainable fuels, offshore wind manufacturing including floating wind, shipbuilding, air transport and seaport fast-moving logistics.

According to those behind the freeport plans, the project will generate a £4 billion boost in GVA (Gross Value Add) to Scotland’s economy and help accelerate the country’s transition to net zero targets by providing investment incentives.

Pointing to the workers at Grangemouth, Ms McAllan acknowledged that “a lot of work needs to be done to make sure that the exact skills are transferable” to cleaner industries.

She pointed to plans for a skills passport which “looks in detail at the skills that are required and how they're transferable”.

Ms McAllan said: “I also met with union reps today at Ineos.

“We had a discussion about his work to make sure that Grangemouth continues to be one of the most important employers in this area and I want to see that as well.”

Ineos has pledged more than £1bn of investment as part of its own efforts to clean up operations. The company is aiming to cut emissions of more than 60% by 2030 and is aligned with the Scottish Government’s 2045 ambition for net zero.