My fourth reply from an MSP on the FoE Scotland Please support the call to block fracking in Scotland email comes from Scottish Green’s Alison Johnstone.
Many thanks for writing to me about the serious issue of fracking and unconventional gas.
I share the widespread concern that the UK Government’s enthusiasm for onshore drilling will see people across Scotland forced to live with unconventional fossil fuel developments and risks damaging health and the local environment. The opening up of new fossil fuel reserves through fracking is also completely incompatible with our efforts to tackle climate change.
I am happy to support calls for a ban, and have done so since 2012 when I lodged a motion calling for a moratorium on all types of unconventional gas extraction until a full independent environmental assessment has been undertaken on their effect on both the local environment and Scotland’s climate change targets. As a member of the Parliament’s Energy committee I have repeatedly raised the issue. I narrowly lost out on my proposals for a 2km buffer zone between drilling and communities but efforts in committee and from hundreds of campaigners have led to a more cautious approach to fracking in Scotland’s planning policy. In April this year I led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on unconventional gas again calling for a ban – you can read what I said here. The SNP government however did not support our calls.
Of recent concern is the Coalition Government’s plan to remove peoples’ rights to be notified about and object to fracking under their land – despite 99% of respondents to their consultation opposing such moves. The issue here isn’t just fracking itself; regardless of a person’s views on fracking, it is only fair and democratic that they be made aware of, and have the opportunity to influence, decisions impacting on their community.
I will continue to urge SNP ministers to resist unconventional gas – despite claims to the contrary, it is still within the Scottish Government’s power to ban onshore unconventional gas developments from Scotland through planning laws. We should focus on Scotland’s clean, renewable energy potential and the high quality, long-term opportunities for employment already being created in that area.
Thank you once again for contacting me on this important issue, and please don’t hesitate to do so again if I can be of any help in future.
I don’t have a great deal to comment on here, this is exactly the response I was looking for and expecting from Alison.
As Alison points out the SNP have the power to block fracking as the Scottish Government still controls energy planning as things stand.
I appeal to new SNP members to raise this at party meetings, by contacting your representatives directly and by strengthening our case.
Anti-fracking response: 1 (YAY!) Pro-fracking responses: 3