Today (24th October) the Scottish Parliament will hopefully ban fracking. Scottish Greens have opposed fracking since the start.
The debate follows a Ministerial Statement made before recess committing the Scottish Government to indefinitely extend their current moratorium.
The so-called ban was a hailed as a major success by eco-NGOs and campaign groups alike but it does not go far enough. If you carefully read the statement made by the Minister for business, innovation and energy closely it is littered with phrases such as ‘yet to be convinced of a strong enough case’ and ‘there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time’, there is no case for fracking full stop. 99% of respondents to the Government consultation were opposed to fracking. This needs to be reflected with a full legal ban rather than an extension of the current moratorium.
The current ‘ban’ is shaky. This can be rectified this afternoon if Green MSP Mark Ruskell’s amendment passes. Mark’s amendment pushes the Government to include the ban on fracking in both the Energy Strategy and the next National Planning Framework. This would put the fracking ban on the same legal footing as the ban on building new nuclear power stations. It is worth noting that this has not yet been challenged.
Personally, I would like to see Scotland ban the importation of shale gas. If we wouldn’t frack our own country due to health and environmental concerns, why would we visit that on other people? I accept that the Grangemouth refinery requires some form of raw product but we should be investing in its conversion to synthetic fuels from renewable sources.
Mark Ruskell MSP “The reality is that the pause we have in place now could be gone after the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021. However, today we have a second historic opportunity to vote for a fracking ban that lasts, is legally watertight and gives greater certainty to communities throughout Scotland.”
Gillian Mackay is co-convener of the Scottish Young Greens
Below is the motion proposed by Paul Wheelhouse of the SNP and the amendment proposed by Mark Ruskell of the Scottish Green Party.
Paul Wheelhouse S5M-08341
Unconventional Oil and Gas
That the Parliament agrees with the Scottish Government’s position of not supporting the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland; endorses the government’s decision to introduce an immediate and effective ban on onshore unconventional oil and gas developments using its devolved powers in line with the Scottish Ministers’ statutory responsibilities, and notes that this position will be subject to a strategic environmental assessment before being finalised.
Mark Ruskell S5M-08341.4
Unconventional Oil and Gas
As an amendment to motion S5M-08341 in the name of Paul Wheelhouse (Unconventional Oil and Gas), insert at end “; agrees that the Scottish Government’s position should be included in the Energy Strategy, in addition to its incorporation in the next National Planning Framework, and further agrees that licensing powers for onshore oil and gas should be transferred immediately to the Scottish Parliament from the UK Government and utilised in a way that is compatible with the Parliament’s view on unconventional oil and gas development”.