Call for outright ban on fracking in Scotland

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Lewino fracking site. Photo: San Leon Energy

Labour has renewed calls for an outright ban on fracking in Scotland ahead of a Holyrood debate on the environment.

MSP Claudia Beamish, the party’s environment spokeswoman, has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for cross-party support for a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing, used to recover shale gas from the ground.

The move came as it was revealed petrochemical giant Ineos has moved its fracking operations from Scotland to England.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “highly sceptical” about the controversial technique and an outright ban has been backed by Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats.

The Scottish Government has introduced a moratorium on fracking while further evidence on its environmental impact is gathered.

Ms Beamish challenged the SNP administration to go further in advance of a Scottish Government debate on the environment and climate change on Wednesday.

She said: “The overwhelming consensus amongst scientists is that to tackle climate change we need to develop low carbon sources of energy.

“Developing another fossil fuel through fracking would be bad for our environment and make it even more difficult to meet our climate change obligations.

“Before the election, Nicola Sturgeon told people she was very sceptical about fracking, but now she has been re-elected First Minister she has the chance to live up to her rhetoric.

“We are very clear – no ifs, no buts, no fracking with Labour. The SNP’s temporary pause on fracking isn’t good enough. Communities across Scotland want a permanent ban on fracking in Scotland.”

Ineos director of corporate affairs Tom Crotty told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper that its geologists and petrochemical engineers were now “100% deployed in England”, with the company’s focus “very much south of the border now”.

He highlighted last week’s decision by councillors in North Yorkshire to approve an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas at an existing drilling site near the village of Kirby Misperton.

Mr Crotty added: “We are still in the moratorium (in Scotland) and we have been fairly clear with the government that the delay isn’t helpful.”

Labour has renewed calls for an outright ban on fracking in Scotland ahead of a Holyrood debate on the environment.

MSP Claudia Beamish, the party’s environment spokeswoman, has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for cross-party support for a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing, used to recover shale gas from the ground.

The move came as it was revealed petrochemical giant Ineos has moved its fracking operations from Scotland to England.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “highly sceptical” about the controversial technique and an outright ban has been backed by Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats.

The Scottish Government has introduced a moratorium on fracking while further evidence on its environmental impact is gathered.

Ms Beamish challenged the SNP administration to go further in advance of a Scottish Government debate on the environment and climate change on Wednesday.

She said: “The overwhelming consensus amongst scientists is that to tackle climate change we need to develop low carbon sources of energy.

“Developing another fossil fuel through fracking would be bad for our environment and make it even more difficult to meet our climate change obligations.

“Before the election, Nicola Sturgeon told people she was very sceptical about fracking, but now she has been re-elected First Minister she has the chance to live up to her rhetoric.

“We are very clear – no ifs, no buts, no fracking with Labour. The SNP’s temporary pause on fracking isn’t good enough. Communities across Scotland want a permanent ban on fracking in Scotland.”

Ineos director of corporate affairs Tom Crotty told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper that its geologists and petrochemical engineers were now “100% deployed in England”, with the company’s focus “very much south of the border now”.

He highlighted last week’s decision by councillors in North Yorkshire to approve an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas at an existing drilling site near the village of Kirby Misperton.

Mr Crotty added: “We are still in the moratorium (in Scotland) and we have been fairly clear with the government that the delay isn’t helpful.”

A spokeswoman for energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Just a few months ago Claudia Beamish was demanding that fracking applications be decided via a local referendum, and her colleagues in London voted against an outright ban.

“We are deeply sceptical about fracking and have ensured that no fracking can take place in Scotland by putting in place a moratorium.

“We’ve also put in place a very thorough research programme and plans for a public consultation – so that any decision is based on both evidence and public opinion.

“Unless it can be proven beyond doubt that there is no risk to health, communities or the environment, there will be no fracking or UCG extraction in Scotland.

“That is a much more sensible approach to take than Labour’s cynical attempts to grab headlines.”

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