Reacting to news that powers on environmental protection, fracking licensing, fishing and farming may be transferred to the UK Government at the point of Brexit, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Devolution means that Scotland is already different from the rest of the UK. We have set higher standards for air quality and tougher targets for renewable energy, made different choices on dealing with waste and have a process which will hopefully lead to a ban on fracking.

“Any plan to move control of these areas to Westminster after Brexit is alarming, the whole point of devolution has been that relevant decisions would be made that suit the specific circumstances in Scotland. Devolution has been good for Scotland’s environment, we have higher ambition on renewable energy, on tackling climate change, on dealing with pollution in our cities and losing control in these areas would be a huge setback for efforts to meet these goals.

“The apparent move to take back powers that have only just come to Scotland on fracking licensing is disturbing, since it comes from a UK Government which is desperately enthusiastic for this disastrous technique. There is huge opposition to fracking across Scotland, with over 60,000 people responding to a recent consultation, the vast majority calling for an outright ban. The Scottish Government must act swiftly to ban fracking before this most powerful route to stop the fracking industry is jeopardised by Brexit negotiations. “

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government today published a list of areas in which the UK would have control after Brexit, including a range of environmental protection areas including air and water quality, flooding and recycling, onshore hydrocarbons licensing (which would include fracking) and fisheries. https://news.gov.scot/resources/letter-from-michael-russell-to-finance-and-constitution-committee

Powers over onshore oil and gas licensing are devolved to the Scottish Parliament by way of the Scotland Act 2016. Even if Westminster took back control of aspects of these powers under the EU Withdrawal Bill, the Scottish Government could still use planning and environmental regulation powers to stop the fracking industry.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.