Greens celebrate - but call for total ban
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