13 Days Remaining

Wednesday 4th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

99 per cent of those consulted favour banning the polluting practice

SCOTLAND vowed yesterday to ban fracking due to “overwhelming” public opposition to shale gas.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said that the current moratorium would be extended “indefinitely” through planning powers — removing the need for legislation.

He told MSPs: “Let me be clear that the action is sufficient to effectively ban the development of unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland.

“The decision that I am announcing today means that fracking cannot, and will not take place in Scotland.”

Mr Wheelhouse said a public consultation on the issue received more than 60,000 responses, with 99 per cent of respondents opposed to fracking.

Opponents raised concerns over the impact on health and the environment.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water at high pressure into shale formations, fracturing the rock and allowing natural gas to flow out.

The government will seek MSPs’ endorsement of the ban by extending the moratorium in place since January 2015 during a debate and vote following recess.

Environmental charities hailed the move, with Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigns chief Mary Church calling it “a huge win” for anti-frackers who have been calling for a ban for six years.

She said the ban would “avoid potentially devastating impacts to people’s health, the climate and our natural environment.”

WWF Scotland acting director Dr Sam Gardner added: “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 on fracking.”

But energy union GMB’s Scotland secretary Gary Smith accused the Scottish government of being “dishonest and hypocritical,” adding: "Scotland is importing a huge amount of shale gas from Trump's America.

“If the government wants to be consistent, it will now ban shale gas imports, threatening a huge number of job losses.”