Greens cel­e­brate - but call for to­tal ban

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Findlay

Green cam­paign­ers in East Kil­bride and Avon­dale have wel­comed the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ex­tend the mora­to­rium on frack­ing in­def­i­nitely.

En­ergy min­is­ter Paul Wheel­house made the an­nounce­ment fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion which at­tracted more than 65,000 re­sponses – 99 per cent of which were against frack­ing.

Al­though East Kil­bride is not right on the frack­ing front­line, ar­eas of shale gas ex­plo­ration have been iden­ti­fied very close to the town, half­way along the ex­press­way at Blantyre and Hamil­ton.

Cam­paign­ers say the im­pact of frack­ing would have been felt in East Kil­bride – and are still push­ing for a to­tal ban.

Greens ac­tivist Kirsten Robb said: “Con­cerns about frack­ing have been raised on the grounds of pub­lic health and the safety of work­ers, as well as its con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate change, which could all af­fect our town.

“We wel­come the progress of the Lib­eral Democrats, Labour and the SNP that has re­sulted in this ex­ten­sion of the mora­to­rium on frack­ing.

“Greens have op­posed frack­ing right from the start when we pro­posed a ban on un­con­ven­tional oil and gas ex­trac­tion in 2014 and other par­ties voted against it.

“How­ever, our com­mu­ni­ties now need the full pro­tec­tion of a le­gal ban. We urge ev­ery­one to write to your MSPs to con­sign frack­ing to his­tory for good so we can fo­cus on cre­at­ing last­ing jobs in a clean econ­omy.”

Mean­while, Frances Sin­clair from RIC EK stated: “The po­si­tion taken by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is prob­a­bly the best we could hope for at the mo­ment.

“How­ever, we would ex­pect to see a full leg­isla­tive ban in place as soon as the li­cens­ing pow­ers are tech­ni­cally trans­ferred to Holy­rood.

“This is­sue is yet an­other ex­am­ple of the dif­fer­ence in pol­icy on cli­mate and en­vi­ron­men­tal mat­ters be­tween the West­min­ster Gov­ern­ment and Scot­land, and we hope to see the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment take the lead again with an am­bi­tious new cli­mate bill.

“We have to re­alise that the fos­sil fuel age be­longs in the past. We must em­brace a sus­tain­able fu­ture.”

Rhona Ma­cLeod, from Strathaven, was a found­ing mem­ber of the South La­nark­shire Against Un­con­ven­tional Gas group.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, she said: “As a nurse and grand­mother, I am ex­tremely con­cerned about the health im­pacts on our most vul­ner­a­ble – the un­born, and new­born ba­bies.

“I’m aware the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment de­cided to ex­tend the cur­rent mora­to­rium, and ef­fec­tively ban frack­ing via the plan­ning sys­tem.

“How­ever, I am still con­cerned that un­less we have a full ban in law, we could still see this in­dus­try get­ting the green light to pro­ceed.”

Cly­des­dale MSP Aileen Camp­bell added: “Frack­ing has been a top con­cern for many in Strathaven and I ap­plaud the ef­forts of com­mu­nity ac­tivists who have fought a long cam­paign to high­light the dan­gers frack­ing would have posed in terms of pub­lic health, the en­vi­ron­ment and the econ­omy of Scot­land.

“Hav­ing put a mora­to­rium in place more than two years ago, eval­u­ated the ev­i­dence and con­sulted the peo­ple of Scot­land, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has reached the right con­clu­sion.”

Wel­come news Greens ac­tivist Kirsten Robb

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