Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has warned that news of the SNP leadership’s dismissal of an internal debate on unconventional oil and gas extraction could be an indication that the Scottish Government is preparing to end the moratorium for fracking licences in Scotland.
A motion calling for a complete ban on unconventional oil and gas extraction has been blocked by the party’s conference arrangement committee, preventing any debate on the issue at the party’s spring conference.
While the moratorium was only ever a temporary ban, something which Elaine has continuously challenged as not going far enough, no additional wells at Canonbie can be granted planning permission while it is in effect.
Elaine has backed Scottish Labour’s call 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:
“This will come as worrying news to many of my constituents’ in Canonbie and across the region. In my eyes, the moratorium never went far enough and only ever was a temporary measure which we forced the Scottish Government into taking despite their insistence that they didn’t have the power to do so. It’s common knowledge that Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is a supporter of fracking, and so this decision to block any debate on unconventional oil and gas extraction by the SNP leadership is an indication that the moratorium is likely to be lifted. I want to see local communities be given the powers to veto any fracking plans, instead of giving individuals sitting in Edinburgh the final say.”
Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh added:
“It has always been a concern that the Scottish Government would eventually cave into pressure from big business, but the SNP’s total disregard of internal democracy seems to be an indication that this has happened sooner than expected. Residents in our local area now need to be made fully aware of what the Scottish Government is planning. Ideally we need to be looking beyond fracking as a whole, as the end product will not help us with carbon emissions.”