Fracking ban is a win for people and planet

Fracking protest crop

​Campaigners celebrate victory over fracking in Scotland

Graham Martin's photo

3rd October 2017 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

The decision to ban fracking in Scotland is a victory for campaigners, communities and the environment.

That’s the message coming from jubilant charities and pressure groups who have been pushing to have the controversial oil and gas extraction technique stopped.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the existing moratorium on fracking should go on "indefinitely" and that fracking "cannot and will not take place in Scotland".

MSPs will be given a vote on the issue later in the year before a final decision is taken.

A moratorium has been in place since 2015, and ministers commissioned a series of expert reports on the controversial and a public consultation was launched in January 2017.

Mr Wheelhouse said the consultation came back with "overwhelming" opposition to fracking, with 99% of responses opposed to fracking.

Charities hailed the move a victory for people and planet.

Dr Sam Gardner, Acting Director of WWF Scotland said: “It’s excellent news the Scottish Government has listened to the thousands of people, campaigners, and politicians across the country who have been calling for a permanent ban to fracking.

"The climate science is clear. The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground.  It’s fantastic Scottish Ministers agree that we need to start placing them off limits.” 

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: "This is a victory for the environment and for local communities fighting fracking. The Scottish Government's decision to ban fracking will be warmly welcomed across the country and around the world.

“This is a huge win for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for those on the frontline of this dirty industry here in Scotland, who have been working for a ban these last six years.”

The Minister announced that the existing moratorium would be extended indefinitely using planning and environmental regulation powers to effectively ban the fracking industry.

It fell short of committing to passing a law like recent bans in Ireland, Victoria and Maryland, when powers over onshore oil and gas licensing are finally handed over by Westminster.

Church added: "We urge the Scottish Government to go further than relying on planning powers to give effect to this ban, and instead commit to passing a law to ban the fracking industry for good.

“There's no doubt that when onshore oil and gas licensing powers are finally handed over it will be within the legislative competence of the Parliament to ban fracking, and that there is a powerful mandate to do so.

“The measures announced today are the right interim approach until licensing powers are technically transferred to Holyrood.”

Elisabeth Whitebread, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Unlike Westminster, Holyrood is listening to public opinion. We already have more gas than we can afford to burn, and as well as damaging the climate, fracking will cause local noise, air and light pollution.

“By announcing a ban on this new fossil fuel industry in Scotland, and using a fair process to reach their decision, the SNP Government is leading the way towards the clean energy system that people want. The Conservative government in Westminster is now alone in backing fracking and looks very isolated indeed.”

Three years ago, the RSPB published its Fit to Frack report on the risks of fracking to wildlife in the UK, showing that fracking could lead to significant habitat loss and fragmentation if not strictly regulated, posed risks to water quality and could undermine legally binding climate targets if not strictly regulated.

Alexa Morrison, senior policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said: “Because of the continued uncertainties around risks of fracking for the climate and for wildlife, we are pleased to see the Scottish Government respecting the precautionary principle, an important foundation of environmental decision making, and ruling out the extraction of unconventional gas extraction through the planning system.”

31st October 2017 by Lok Yue

Tosh! The day I see passenger aircraft carrying 500 passengers at 500 MPH being powered by electric motors I will support fracking and any other bans. Until then....