Power given to Scots MSPs over fracking

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Anti-fracking campaigners protested outside Holyrood Palace in October 2014

Scottish excluded from Westminster fracking legislation  

14th January 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Fracking in residential areas could be outlawed in Scotland after the UK government excluded the country from laws making it easier for firms to drill for shale gas.

The Infrastructure Bill currently going through Westminster is set to allow underground access in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Scotland.

The Scottish Government, the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Green Party had opposed the bill.

Labour MP Tom Greatrex lodged amendments to the bill requesting that full powers over shale gas exploration be given to the Scottish Parliament ahead of the general election in five months' time which Westminster MPs accepted.

Technically the legislation would allow the UK government to decide whether a company could drill under a house or any area of the country.

The move now means Scotland will be able to decide where companies extract the gas in future.

Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, which opposed the plans, said: "Taking away the right to say no to drilling under your home is one of the most outrageous aspects of the UK government's drive for unconventional gas and fracking.

“The Scottish Government and thousands of people around the country objected to the removal of these rights last summer, so it is good news that UK ministers have belatedly responded to this. Our sympathies are with those people in the rest of the UK who will still lose this right stop fracking underneath their homes."

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said that the decision was a "victory for common sense".

He added: "It is a vindication of the Scottish Government's continued objections to UK government plans to remove the right of Scottish householders to object to unconventional oil and gas drilling under their home.”

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