Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian and a leading campaigner against fracking, is renewing her call for the Scottish Government's temporary moratorium to be turned into a permanent ban in light of a new report by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The educational charity's advice paper - Options for Scotland's Gas Future - highlights the benefits of reducing demand for gas by improving the efficiency of Scotland's housing stock, a measure consistently championed by Scottish Green MSPs.
The society appears sceptical of giving local communities the final say on fracking developments, saying this would be a "highly unbalanced approach."
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.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
"This report highlights the need to continue to fight the prospect of fracking in our communities. The Scottish Government's moratorium, along with the suspended licensing round, is giving worried communities breathing space but it is also giving wealthy developers and backers the chance to lobby for something that is unwelcome and unnecessary. And the moratorium does not cover already licensed offshore developments such as coal gasification, proposed for the Forth.
"The report makes clear that demand reduction measures such as major investment in energy efficient homes would deliver the most positive impacts in terms of safety, the health of our communities, the economy, energy security and social justice. And I would challenge the idea that local people would not reach a balanced view - the real issue is that communities are up against big developers, diverting attention from sustainable opportunities."