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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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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