Tue 8 Nov, 2016

A ban on fracking will allow us to focus on stable jobs in energy efficiency and renewables. Mark Ruskell MSP

Mark Ruskell MSP, Energy & Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (8 Nov) said research into fracking published by the Scottish Government shows the risky drilling technique looks doomed.

Green MSPs led Holyrood's first debate on fracking in 2014, calling for a ban.

Today's reports identify a “gap in the regulations relating to decommissioning, aftercare and long-term well failure liabilities of onshore wells.”

The reports also state that if fracking goes ahead it will make meeting climate change targets in other areas harder.

Mark Ruskell, Energy & Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, said:

"There are serious gaps in this research, particularly around the clean up costs. We've learned the hard way from open cast coal mines that the fossil fuel industry leaves communities devastated and the public has to pick up the bill. 

"The Scottish Government was elected on a manifesto that promised to ban fracking unless it could be proved beyond any doubt that there was no risk to health, communities or the environment. On the basis of what's been published today, it seems clear that fracking is doomed. The forthcoming Climate Bill would be an effective way to end the uncertainty. 

"It's somewhat bizarre that the minister was today unable to rule out fracking from the forthcoming climate change plan and consultation on energy strategy, and a public consultation is unlikely to result in anything other than a big no from communities across the central belt. 

"Ultimately, the evidence to ban fracking already exists. We have more fossil fuels than we can burn if we want to limit climate change. A ban on fracking will allow us to focus on stable jobs in energy efficiency and renewables."

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The Scottish Greens have described today's announcement by the Scottish Government that the current temporary moratorium on fracking will be extended "indefinitely" as a step in the right direction.

But Green MSP Mark Ruskell warned that while pressure from Greens and concerned communities has succeeded in forcing an extension of the current planning moratorium, Scottish Ministers only spoke of "no social licence at this time" and did not commit to use environmental regulations and licensing powers to rule out the technology for good.