A UK energy minister has given up hope on imposing new nuclear energy developments on the Scottish Government despite accusing the SNP and Greens of holding a “Luddite mentality” to the technology.

Andrew Bowie has also called for SNP ministers to set “realistic targets” to reach net zero, insisting that “coordination, communication, cooperation is absolutely key” between Scotland’s two governments.

Mr Bowie, who represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine at Westminster has warned against the potential “madness” of shutting down the North Sea oil and gas sector earlier than the UK Government anticipates.

The alarm comes as the Scottish Government closes its consultation on whether the pace of closing down the industry should be “accelerated”.

Licensing over oil and gas is reserved to the UK Government.

Mr Bowie, the UK nuclear and networks minister, told The Herald that his government has given up trying to roll out its new fleet of nuclear reactors in Scotland.

Energy is devolved to Westminster, but the Scottish Government can veto new developments through devolved planning rules.

Read more: SNP to consider speeding up decline of North Sea oil and gas sector

The Scottish Government is opposed to new nuclear developments being built north of the border.

🗣️ Time is running out to save on a full year of digital access with our lowest EVER offer.

Subscribe for a whole year to The Herald for only £24 for unlimited website access or £30 for our digital pack.

Been meaning to subscribe? Don't wait, this offer is only available for a limited time.

👉 Click here to subscribe

Mr Bowie said: “It's a Luddite mentality frankly.

“It is quite incredible that the Scottish Government, the Scottish National Party, the Greens as well, want to restrict the development of this technology, which by the way is clean, it's safe, it's proven, we were world leaders in it when it was first developing.

“It has helped keep the lights on in this country, frankly, for the last 70 years.

"It creates high-skilled high-wage jobs in areas of the country, which frankly because of geography are traditionally not economically prosperous.”

He added: “I would love to see those opportunities and this technology come to Scotland to help us on the road to net zero and also to reduce energy bills.

Read more: SNP Government to continue opposition to nuclear power 'to keep energy bills low'

“Planning is, however, devolved. The Scottish Government has taken a policy decision that they don't want and will not give planning permission for new nuclear facilities in Scotland.

“That is their decision. I regret it but we're not engaging in a fight with them. We're pressing on with our great British nuclear ambitions down south.

“When we have a Scottish Conservative government in Holyrood, then we will be able to proceed at pace and development nuclear in Scotland.”

Asked about arguments made by SNP ministers against nuclear power on cost grounds, Mr Bowie insisted it was “a ridiculous thing to say”.

He added: “It's a Luddite mentality because they are being held hostage by an anti-nuclear Green party.

“It's nothing to do with cost. It's an ideological position that has been adopted.

“Look, there's a lot of money involved, especially right now, because, frankly, we're starting afresh after about 20 or 30 years of not investing in nuclear.”

Read more: SNP's just transition chief blows hole in independence economic case

Asked about the Scottish Government potentially calling for the winding down of the oil and gas sector to be ramped up, Mr Bowie said: “Thank God it is reserved to the UK Government.”

He added: “Frankly, thank goodness licensing is a reserved function because the Scottish National Party and the Green Party would shut off oil and gas tomorrow, we'd put high-skilled workers, specifically in the north of Scotland on the scrap heap.”

Mr Bowie claimed that the Scottish Government has “no real plan to transition all of those hundreds of thousands of workers away from oil and gas jobs into new technologies”.

He said: “The jobs simply aren't there at the minute.

“Of course, we're going to transition, of course the North Sea is a declining basin.

“But we need to continue to invest in it and to support it moving forward because we're going to be relying, in part, for our energy mix, but also for things like petrochemicals, for some time to come.

“It would be madness to decide to shut down our own domestic oil and gas supply any sooner than we were looking to do so. We need to continue to invest in it.”

SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan responded saying: "Nuclear, in current technologies, will never present value for money and it has an environment price tag that takes decades, even longer, to clean up. 

"So strategically, we do have to move away from hydrocarbons that are incompatible - unlimited extraction is incompatible with net zero. 

"But we have to invest in our future energy mix on the basis of renewables and hydrogen."