Green Party debate calls for fracking ban in Scotland

The Scottish Greens will call for the Scottish Government to rule out unconventional gas extraction in Scotland as they lead a debate at Holyrood today.

They say new forms of gas extraction will make no difference to energy prices, puts the health of communities at risk, and will make meeting Scotland’s climate targets even harder to achieve.

The Westminster Government has licensed large areas of central and southern Scotland for new forms of gas production such as fracking and coal bed methane, but the Scottish Government has effective control over any developments through the planning system.

A YouGov poll of 1900 people released on 6th May showed 74 percent opposition to Westminster’s plans to allow drilling deep under people’s homes without their permission.

A public inquiry is currently under way into proposals by Dart Energy to drill 22 wells in Airth, north of Falkirk.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP and a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Energy committee said:

“Everyone from George Osborne to EDF and E.ON have said that unconventional gas will make no difference to energy prices, so let’s focus on growing Scotland’s renewable energy industry. There is widespread public concern about the impact that new drilling would have on communities and the local environment.

“Opening up a new front of fossil fuel exploration makes no sense when we’re missing our climate targets. Now is the time for the Scottish Government to show that they will take a different approach from the Westminster Coalition.”

The motion for debate, which will be voted on by the whole Parliament reads:

That the Parliament notes the significant public opposition to new methods of fossil fuel extraction such as fracking and coal-bed methane; notes that energy companies already hold far more fossil fuel reserves than it is safe to burn; agrees with the UK Energy and Climate Change Committee and many others, such as the chairman of Cuadrilla and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that developing unconventional gas in the UK will likely have no effect on the cost of energy for households; opposes the UK Government’s extensive tax breaks for the industry and what it sees as a bribe to local authorities to approve development; supports communities in Falkirk, Stirling, Dumfries and Galloway and across the central belt who are campaigning against unconventional gas, and calls on the Scottish Government to implement a ban on unconventional fossil fuel extraction in Scotland in order to protect communities, safeguard local environments and focus investment on renewable energy, given the importance of meeting all targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the third of which is due to be reported to the Parliament imminently.