In advance of today’s SNP conference debate on fracking and unconventional fossil fuels, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The SNP conference presents a crucial opportunity for SNP members to tell the leadership exactly how they feel about fracking and unconventional fossil fuels in Scotland. The conference motion has been overtaken by events but there will not doubt be plenty of strong feelings among the grassroots membership. The loophole which allows test drilling will no doubt also feature in the debate.”

While delegates are expected to commend the Scottish Government on its recent decision to place a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification, SNP members are also expected to urge the Scottish Government to turn the moratoria on unconventional fossil fuels into full and permanent bans.

“The SNP has faced growing pressure from within its own ranks from the new campaign group SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas (SMAUG), who are calling on the Scottish Government to ban fracking, coal-bed methane and underground coal gasification outright. The Scottish Government must listen to its party members as well as communities from across Scotland who do not want unconventional fossil fuels because of climate change, environmental and economic impacts.

“Fracking and unconventional fossil fuels have no place in Scotland’s future energy mix. The world has many times more fossil fuel reserves than we can afford to burn if we want to avoid dangerous climate change. The Scottish Government should be investing in exploiting our abundance of wind, wave and tidal power, not letting companies profit from the development of dangerous technologies that are unwanted in Scotland.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

1. Dr Richard Dixon will be available for comment and interview at the SNP conference.

2. The motion being debated reads:

Conference supports the Scottish Government’s moratorium on ‘Fracking’.
Conference notes that companies involved in unconventional gas extraction continue to pursue plans in Scotland including a ‘community’ of 15 wells in the Firth of Forth.
Conference calls on the Scottish Government to consider extending the current moratorium on ‘Fracking’ to include the technologies used in underground coal gasification and unconventional gas extraction.
Conference further calls on the Scottish Government to reaffirm its commitment to reduce the use of fossil fuels in its energy mix by continuing to support and develop renewable sources of energy.

Stronger motions and amendments were submitted but not accepted.

3. The Scottish Government announced a moratorium on Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane extraction, including fracking, on 28 January 2015 pending a health impact assessment report, a public consultation, regulatory reform and planning reform: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/fracking-moratorium-scotland

4. On 8th October 2015 the Scottish Government placed a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification after facing mounting pressure from community groups and SNP grassroots members: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/2071

5. A new grassroots campaign group, SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas (SMAUG) was launched on 12th September 2015: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/2059

7. New York state implemented a ban on fracking after a Department of Health study concluded that not enough was known about the health and environmental risks: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/17/cuomo-fracking-new-york-state_n…

8. FoE briefing on Underground Coal Gasification here: http://foes.do/UCG_briefing

9. 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.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk