SCOTLAND’S ban on nuclear power plants is bordering on being “criminally negligent”, a Conservative minister has insisted as he challenged the Scottish Government to change its stance.

Andrew Bowie will tell a Nuclear in Scotland event in Holyrood on Wednesday that the SNP and Greens’ continued opposition to the technology was an “act of economic vandalism”.

The Times reported he will urge Scottish ministers to embrace the “nuclear revival” and reverse its current policy of blocking new nuclear power plants from being built north of the Border through planning laws.

But the policy will be criticised as “gross irresponsibility, verging on the criminally negligent” by Bowie at the event organised by the nuclear industries association in a bid to highlight the differences between Scotland and England to businesses.

According to the Scottish Government, nuclear energy accounted for 30% of electricity generated in Scotland in 2021 – from the EDF generator at Torness, East Lothian.

Energy Secretary Neil Gray hit back at Bowie’s claims saying they were not a “serious or sensible way to conduct the debate on Scotland’s energy future”.

He told The Times: “Neither does it demonstrate a grown-up attitude to inter­governmental relations between Westminster and Holyrood.

“As well as the many environmental and economic concerns over nuclear, the worst thing we could do would be to derail Scotland’s journey to net zero, which is under way by capitalising on our renewables, hydrogen and carbon-capture resources and potential.”

Despite its opposition to new nuclear power plants, the Scottish Government has offered qualified support to extending the life of the Torness site, subject to “strict environment and safety criteria”.

READ MORE: UK Government must shelve ‘ill thought out’ nuclear plans, warn Scottish Greens

But the UK Government believes the low-carbon technology should be a key part of the country’s energy mix, arguing it offers reliability and security.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Significant growth in renewables, hydrogen and carbon-capture storage provide the best pathway to net zero by 2045, and will deliver a climate-friendly energy system that delivers affordable, resilient and clean energy supplies for Scotland.

“The Scottish government does not support the building of new nuclear fission power stations in Scotland under current technologies. New nuclear power is expensive and will take years, if not decades, to become operational and has significant environmental concerns.

“Through our draft energy strategy and just transition plan we have set out a clear pathway to deliver on global commitments and capitalise on the enormous opportunities offered by becoming a net zero economy.”