The Herald

Union fears push for renewable energy will hit thousands of gas jobs

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THOUSANDS of jobs in North Sea gas production could be at risk from the drive towards renewable energy sources, according to a trade union.

Scotland is the second largest gas producer in the European Union, with the oil and gas sector in the region supporting 125,000 Scottish jobs. But the GMB warned at the STUC conference in Aviemore that many of these could be lost, saying an affordable and prosperous energy future without gas is “pie-in-the-sky politics”.

An independen­t report produced for the union by Strathclyd­e University’s Centre for Energy Policy found that 70 per cent of UK heating is provided by natural gas. The SNP Government’s own figures show rising numbers (79 per cent) of homes in Scotland use gas as their primary heating fuel.

Against the backdrop of rising fuel poverty, the GMB has been pressing the case for a full examinatio­n of the cost, environmen­tal and employment implicatio­ns of winding down production.

GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: “The future of affordable domestic energy in our country is at risk and the Scottish Government cannot keep dodging the tough choices we need to make if we are to meaningful­ly tackle fuel poverty. domestic gas

“The idea that we can affordably heat our homes, power our economy and sustain thousands of jobs without domestic gas production is just pie-in-the-sky politics and the main losers will be hard-working Scots and the poorest in our society.”

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are absolutely committed to maintainin­g domestic oil and gas production and maximising economic recovery from the North Sea.”

Meanwhile, the Stuc announced last night that it had elected its first black president in Satnam Ner. The Prospect union officials is a radiochemi­stry manager at Babcock.

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