Scottish Government To Ban Fracking

For Immediate Release

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Connal Hughes, FoES Press Office, 0131 243 2715, chughes@foe.scot

Scottish Government To Ban Fracking

SCOTLAND - Responding to Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse's announcement today of the Scottish Government's proposal to ban fracking, 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 today 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.

"Having put a moratorium in place more than two years ago, evaluated the evidence and consulted the people of Scotland, the Scottish Government has reached the right and sensible conclusion that the fracking industry must be banned to avoid potentially devastating impacts to people's health, the climate and our natural environment.

"Over 60,000 people responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on fracking, the second largest number to engage in a consultation in the history of the devolved Parliament, with 99% calling for a ban. This shows the real strength of feeling against this dirty industry in Scotland.”

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 continued:

"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.

On the threat that Brexit negotiations might jeopardise the Scottish Parliament's powers to ban fracking, Church added:

"Given that the UK Government has only just devolved fracking licensing powers to Holyrood, it is quite unlikely that it plans to take them back. However, the Scottish Government and Parliament should act as soon as the powers are handed over to ban fracking in case this most obvious and powerful route to stop the industry is jeopardised by Brexit negotiations."

The Scottish Government's proposal will go to a vote in Parliament, likely soon after recess.

Church said:

"Holyrood has already voted once to ban fracking and we fully expect it to do so again, with Labour, Greens and Liberal Democrats all outspoken in their opposition to this industry. We call on parties to push beyond the Scottish Government's present proposal and work for a legislative ban. Legislating to ban fracking provides the strongest protection for communities and the environment, and sends a clear message about the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground in the fight against climate change."

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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