Tens of thousands call for fracking ban as consultation draws to a close

Tens of thousands call for fracking ban as consultation draws to a close

More than 40,000 people have responded to the Scottish Government consultation on fracking calling for an outright ban.  Communities and campaign groups have been out on the streets, holding public meetings, film screenings and other events over the four month consultation period to get the word out about the risks of fracking. 

 

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Friends of the Earth Scotland's response to the Scottish Government's 'Talking Fracking' consultation

Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Scottish Government's 'Talking Fracking' consultation, on unconventional oil and gas. We have been working with communities on the frontline of this industry in Scotland, and campaigning for a ban on fracking and all forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction for over 6 years. In that time, evidence of the potentially harmful impacts of UOG extraction has only continued to grow, while at the same time the urgency of the climate crisis, and therefore the need to phase out fossil fuels has critically increased. Meanwhile, the industry patently remains unable to demonstrate the safety of hydraulic fracturing and other techniques used to extract unconventional oil and gas in relation to impacts on human health and the environment, as the precautionary principle demands.

In the context of the climate crisis, for a hydrocarbon rich country like Scotland to open up a new source of fossil fuels while it remains committed to continued exploitation of North Sea oil and gas reserves would be completely irresponsible; it would jeopardise our carbon reduction commitments and run counter to the Scottish Government’s efforts to be a world leader on climate action. In view of all of this, the only reasonable course of action for the Scottish Government is to ban all forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction.

We call on the Scottish Government to join the growing number of countries around the world that have legislated to ban unconventional oil and gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing. A ban in law is without a doubt the most effective way of protecting communities and the environment from the immediate and longer term impacts of the industry; of providing certainty for communities in large parts of the country currently under, or proposed for license; and of sending a strong signal to investors and industry that there is no place for unconventional fossil fuels in our energy system.

Read our full response (PDF file)

Illustration by Andy ARthur www.magnificentoctopus.com

Illustration by Andy ARthur www.magnificentoctopus.com

What's happening with fracking in England?

What's happening with fracking in England?

As the Scottish Government consults on whether or not to allow fracking to go ahead, a look south of the border gives a taste of what may come to pass if Ministers end up allowing the controversial industry to proceed. Theresa May's government has chosen to stick with its predecessors 'all out for shale' approach, in the face of huge opposition from communities on the frontline.  But, despite a supportive government, the industry is meeting with obstacles and resistance every step of the way, and struggling to get underway.
 

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Rally stands with Lancashire fracking protesters

Rally stands with Lancashire fracking protesters

While the Scottish Government is consulting the public on whether to give fracking the go ahead, the UK Government appears hell-bent on forcing fracking on communities in England. Ministers overturned a locally-refused planning application at Preston New Road in Lancashire last year

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Scotland can ban fracking; here's how

Scotland can ban fracking; here's how

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, explains how Scotland can ban fracking.

The Scottish Government has just launched a consultation seeking the views of people around the country about whether or not fracking should be allowed to go ahead.  The evidence speaks for itself: fracking must not be allowed to go ahead in Scotland. 

The Government has the ability to stop fracking and we'll be encouraging as many people as possible to demand that they ban fracking now.  

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DAMNING VERDICT ON FRACKING FROM SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT STUDIES

A series of reports published by the Scottish Government today (Tuesday 8 November) contain damning evidence on the impacts of developing a shale gas fracking and coalbed methane industry in Scotland. 

The reports say:

  • Climate impacts: developing an unconventional gas industry will make it harder to meet our climate targets; left unregulated the emissions footprint due to methane leakage could be substantial. 
  • Health impacts: there is evidence that a number of air and water born environmental hazards would be likely to occur as a result of fracking operations; evidence that Unconventional Oil and Gas workers health could be at risk from the use of silica in fracking operations; and evidence of other industry hazards that could pose a risk to the health of nearby residents.
  • Economic impacts: it is unclear if the fracking industry could ever be commercially viable in Scotland; if the industry did go ahead it would likely only contribute on average 0.1% of GDP, with a direct spend of £2.2bn in Scotland up to 2062, and only bring 1,400 direct and indirect jobs; current low oil prices mean it would be extremely challenging climate to develop Unconventional Oil and Gas in Scotland. 
  • Transport impacts: Unconventional Oil and Gas operations will result in increased traffic for communities, potentially over very many years; increased traffic could result in more noise, emissions, road damage and accidents.

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon Energy and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP emphasised the importance of remembering that shale gas and coalbed methane resources are located in the most densely populated part of country.

Friends of the Earth Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

"Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for public health and won't do much good for the economy. That's the damning verdict of the independent studies published by the Scottish Government today, echoing the concerns of communities across the country. 

"The economic case for pursuing an unconventional gas industry in Scotland simply doesn't stand up, while the risks of doing so could be utterly devastating for communities and the environment. No state has had a moratorium on fracking, looked at the evidence and decided it’s a good idea. 

"Support for fracking is at an all time low. People just don't want this dirty, dangerous industry. We are confident that when the Scottish people are given a chance to have their say in the forthcoming Government consultation, the answer will be a resounding 'no' to fracking."

Labour launch Bill to ban fracking

Scottish Labour today launched a Private Member's Bill to ban fracking at Holyrood. The proposal to ban onshore unconventional oil and gas, including shale gas fracking and coalbed methane, was lodged by Claudia Beamish MSP, the party spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change.

Friends of the Earth Scotland commented:

"This is a very important step in the fight against fracking. The grounds for banning unconventional oil and gas are absolutely crystal clear in the context of the climate crisis we are facing and the threat that fracking presents to public health. While the current moratorium has halted the immediate threat of fracking, ultimately a ban is necessary.

"It's really useful that Labour has kicked off a process that starts the thinking on how we actually ban fracking. We urge MSPs and parties to get behind this Bill and work together to protect the environment and end uncertainty for communities."

Claudia Beamish MSP has made it clear that the urgent need to tackle climate change and say no to new fossil fuels is behind her proposal. The Bill has been launched on the day that the UN Paris Agreement on climate change enters into force.

On 1 June of this year the Scottish Parliament actually voted to ban fracking and other forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction.  Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs voted together to defeat the Conservatives who opposed this move, and the SNP who abstained. However, the motion was non-binding on the Scottish Government.

Less than two weeks ago, the Irish Parliament voted unanimously to back a private member's Bill to ban fracking.

Underground coal gasification banned in Scotland

Underground coal gasification banned in Scotland

In a huge victory for people power, the Scottish Government has banned Underground Coal Gasification today. Almost a year ago to the day, the Government announced a moratorium on UCG following a groundswell of opposition to reckless proposals to set coal seams alight under the Firths of Forth and Solway. Simply the prospect of 2,000 people joining hands across the Forth Road Bridge was enough to convince the Government to act, with the moratorium announced a couple of days before the unprecedented protest.

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