Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens' economy and energy spokesperson, today used First Minister's Questions to challenge Scottish Ministers over their failure to answer basic questions about the threat hanging over communities from fracking and coal gasification.
Mr Harvie pointed out that several parliamentary questions have gone unanswered for seven months. The First Minister today said that a timetable for a process of evidence-gathering and consultation will be outlined before mid-October. Earlier this week Mr Harvie lodged a further series of questions for ministers on the issue.
Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have been campaigning against unconventional gas extraction since the 2011 election. Alison led Holyrood’s first debate on the issue in May 2014, proposing a ban. All other parties voted against it.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“Of course there's a place for consultation, but the facts are clear in Scotland and across the world - we have far more fossil fuel than we can afford to burn if we're serious about climate change. Communities across Scotland have a right to know, well before next year's election, what policy the SNP will pursue if they are re-elected.
"Unconventional gas extraction, whether it’s fracking or underground coal gasification, isn’t wanted and isn’t needed. Such developments would suck investment and talent away from jobs in the low-carbon, long-lasting industries of the future. Scottish Greens have led the way on this issue and we will continue to push the Scottish Government in the right direction."
Questions lodged by Patrick Harvie this week:
-To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide a substantive answer to question S4W-26767, which received a holding answer on 17 August 2015, and what the reason is for the delay in providing such an answer.
-To ask the Scottish Government what (a) individuals and (b) organisations it has approached for evidence on the appropriateness of unconventional oil and gas extraction.
-To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to gather evidence to inform its (a) public health impact assessment, (b) work to strengthen planning guidance and (c) tightening of environmental regulation as noted in its news release of 28 January 2015, Moratorium called on fracking.
-To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to start its consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction.
-To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to gather evidence to inform its position on unconventional coal gasification.