Fracking is unsafe, unnecessary and completely incompatible with our climate change targets. Despite the fact that licences to drill for oil and gas are currently given at a UK level Scotland can ban fracking once and for all.
1. We have the power to effectively ban fracking today.
Section 46 of the Scotland Act grants Scotland the power to issue licences for companies to search and bore for on-shore petroleum. When this power is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we can simply refuse to grant licences for fracking.
But until that power is fully devolved, we can put in place interim measures now. In order to drill for and produce oil and gas onshore, planning permission and environmental licences are also required. These are already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and can be used to effectively ban fracking today.
2. The current two year moratorium on fracking isn't strong enough.
The moratorium postpones commercial drilling, but not exploration, and "Industry executives say privately the moratorium will not significantly delay or impact on their fracking plans as it will take several years to finalise their proposals."
A moratorium is, by definition, no more than a pause that kicks the can down the road while we wait for expensive research to confirm what we already know, when we could be getting on with the renewables revolution. This research doesn't strengthen Scotland's hand against the fracking industry and it doesn't make a ban more likely in the future.
3. If Scotland can ban new nuclear power stations, we can ban fracking.
The Scottish Government doesn't have to legally prohibit fracking to effectively ban it.
By altering the National Planning Framework in the same way we did to stop the building of new nuclear plants in Scotland, we can effectively ban fracking by including a new, strong policy statement on fracking.
This would include the assumption that no planning licences would be granted in Scotland for fracking and other forms of unconventional gas extraction because of the dangers and risks associated with the activity. This is a simple process; once the alterations are made the updated National Planning Framework would be signed off by MSPs in Holyrood and fracking would be effectively banned in Scotland.
4. There have been no legal challenges to the nuclear ban from big corporate interests.
Incorporating a fracking ban into the National Planning Framework is highly unlikely to face legal challenge from big corporate interests. It is therefore not clear why a legal challenge would ensue on a similar policy ban on fracking. Big Fracking corporations like INEOS cannot force any Government to grant licenses.
A vote for the Scottish Green Party on 5th May is a vote for a bold party that is committed to banning fracking in Scotland. Find out more about our policies today.