Fracking in Scotland could take years to halt

Fracking sign

22nd January 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Energy companies could still use fracking to drill for gas in Scotland, despite legislation governing licences being devolved to Scotland.

The Scottish Green Party has warned that despite the Smith Commission agreeing to devolve the current regime for the licencing of exploration and extraction of onshore oil and gas to Scotland, the transfer of power could take years after this was translated into draft legislation published today (Thursday, 22 January).

Meanwhile licencing affecting the entire Scottish central belt is already being pursued by the UK government's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

A Scottish Green petition calling on the DECC to halt licencing while the power is devolved has achieved over 5,000 signatures since being launched on 19 January.

Opinion polling shows most Scots oppose fracking, and most want decisions over licencing devolved. 

To hand swathes of Scotland over to the fracking industry would demonstrate utter contempt for the promise to implement the Smith proposals

Patrick Harvie MSP said: "If the UK government has a shred of decency it must put decisions about fracking and similar techniques on hold immediately, until the Scottish Parliament has the power to act. To hand swathes of Scotland over to the fracking industry would demonstrate utter contempt for the promise to implement the Smith proposals.

"These draft clauses will only become law after the UK election, and the current UK government can claim no mandate to give the green light to fracking in Scotland.

"We know that this is going to be an election like no other with smaller parties potentially holding the balance. It is therefore vital to have more Green voices at Westminster to challenge all those who want to see one more roll of the fossil fuel dice.”

Scottish Green Party co-conveners Harvie and Councillor Maggie Chapman took part in the cross-party Smith negotiations, securing agreement on proposals including devolution of fracking licences, energy company obligations and the power to bring railways back into public ownership.

Harvie added: "We will of course subject the devolution process to close scrutiny in Holyrood's devolution committee which my colleague Alison Johnstone sits on, and on the energy committee I will continue to press the Scottish Government to act against fracking with whatever powers it has open to it."