Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray, Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown and South of Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish have criticised the SNP for “letting down” the region after failing to agree to Labour demands that local communities be given the right to veto fracking in their areas.
The SNP Government published its policy on fracking on 28th January, which has resulted in only a temporary ban during a public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction, but fails to give local communities the final say on any future proposals.
Scottish Labour called for a triple-lock system to halt any onshore fracking taking place in Scotland until environmental and health safeguards are in place. This involves:
- A local referendum before final planning approval is given;
- Halting any fracking in Scotland until the lessons of fracking in the rest of the UK are learned;
- A comprehensive review of the baseline conditions before any planning application is granted;
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“I am pleased that the Scottish Government has finally agreed to Scottish Labour’s demand to use the planning process to halt fracking but sadly this is only for the time being. The Scottish Government has not gone far enough. The SNP had the chance to agree that no fracking would take place without the consent of the local communities affected, but they failed to do this. I don’t want the Scottish Government just to have a public consultation on fracking. The moratorium won’t affect the planning permission already granted for wells in Canonbie, but our proposals would have ensured that any additional planning consents, which DART and their successor company would need, would have been subject to a local referendum.”
Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown said:
“The proposals from the Scottish Government simply delay fracking rather than give local communities any power to stop it. It is well known that Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is a supporter of fracking and people living in parts of our region that could be affected by it will simply be wondering when he will find a reason to lift this temporary ban. It is ironic that the powers Labour forced through in the UK Parliament for the rest of the UK are far tougher than the Scottish Government’s plans and communities will be disappointed that ultimately they won’t have the final say on whether this comes to their local area.”
South of Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish said:
“I am pleased that the Scottish Government has supported Scottish Labour’s plans to halt fracking and that no licences will be granted by SEPA for Unconventional gas extraction during the moratorium. However, the Scottish Government proposals don’t give communities in Dumfries & Galloway such as Canonbie the power to object to fracking applications when the moratorium is over. The SNP had the opportunity to give local communities the final say on any fracking proposals, but as usual chose to keep that power for themselves in Edinburgh.”