The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy returned recently after a two-year Covid hiatus.
It was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the boats, food and stalls on offer.
There were lots of visitors, arriving from far afield – even on the Sunday, when the weather was less than favourable!
The festival kicks off a host of regular Summer events we have missed in recent years across Banff and Buchan, with the New Deer and Turriff shows later this month.
Energy transition continues to play a huge part in the north east’s economy.
I was delighted to welcome representatives from the Singapore Government to Peterhead Power Station and St Fergus to discuss ongoing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plans at both locations.
Following my ongoing engagement with government and industry, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, agreed to come to Aberdeen to meet with oil and gas industry leaders to discuss current and future challenges and opportunities.
The Chancellor and key stakeholders from across the sector discussed the risks and incentives to investment in the North Sea.
He took the opportunity to reinforce the UK Government’s ongoing support of the industry in their vital contribution to energy security as well as in the transition to net zero – including £41 million already invested into the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen Project at St Fergus.
Last week, I was sad to hear Chief Executive of Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), Deirdre Michie OBE announce she was stepping down at the end of this year.
Deirdre has been a powerful and balanced voice for the industry, reinforcing the sector’s critical role in making the energy transition a reality.
I was particularly pleased to work with her – during my time as a Minister in the UK Government Scotland Office – in negotiations on the ground-breaking £16 billion North SeaTransition Deal.
She will be a very tough act to follow.
I wish her all the best for the future and thank her for the tireless support she has given.
Last weekend also marked Armed Forces Day when we celebrate and commemorate the invaluable job our armed forces do, 365 days a year, defending our country and her interests.
As the UK continues to lead the effort to support our friend and ally Ukraine against the bloody aggression of Putin and his cronies, this is an ever more poignant reminder of what we owe to all service personnel who serve our country and our allies.
I was pleased to speak in the recent second reading of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill and to join the Legislative Committee for the Bill.
Gene editing is different from genetic modification because it does not involve the
introduction of DNA from other species.
Precision breeding techniques like gene editing creates new varieties similar to those that are traditionally produced more slowly by natural breeding processes.
The current legislation, based on retained EU law, is over 30 years old and has not kept pace with scientific developments in precision breeding technologies.
Scientific technologies which are being developed in world-leading programmes at Scottish research institutes such as Roslin and James Hutton.
I hope that the SNP Scottish Government will change their current position and join UK Government in this approach – in the interest of farmers, food producers and researchers across the UK, and especially here in Scotland.