Ahead of the government debate on fracking later this month, we have an opportunity to strengthen what Scottish Ministers believe is a ban but which starts to fall apart when you look at it.Mark Ruskell MSP
Mark Ruskell MSP, Climate and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (5 Oct) used First Minister's Questions to challenge Nicola Sturgeon to strengthen the Scottish Government's position on fracking.
Earlier this week, following years of Green pressure, Scottish Ministers announced that the current temporary moratorium on unconventional gas extraction will be extended "indefinitely" as there is "no social licence at this time" but they did not commit to use planning policy, environmental regulations and licensing powers to rule out the technology for good.
Mark Ruskell MSP said:
"We are still a long way from turning a planning moratorium into a watertight ban, and concerns remain in threatened communities and indeed amongst the SNP’s own membership that what the Scottish Government has announced isn't strong enough. A letter from a minister to local councils asking them not to make decisions on any fracking applications can be easily overturned by future ministers and governments and may attract a legal challenge from vested interests such as Ineos.
"By contrast, the ban on new nuclear power stations is written into the National Planning Framework, and if a future government wanted to change it, they would have to come back to Parliament, go through proper scrutiny and win the support of most MSPs. Ahead of the government debate on fracking later this month, we have an opportunity to strengthen what Scottish Ministers believe is a ban but which starts to fall apart when you look at it."