When: 11.45 on Saturday 19th October 2013

Where: Outside Perth Concert Hall, Perth, to coincide with the SNP party conference. 

What: An opportunity to see and photograph the amazing DAFT Energy! Watch as they build their massive drilling rig outside the SNP conference and gaze in wonder as they attempt to drill for gas. Rally and speeches from Scotland’s leading environmental organisations and community groups from 12:00pm, plus the public’s chance to voice their concerns about fracking and unconventional gas.

As part Global Frackdown Day Saturday, October 19th, concerned organisations and members of the community in Scotland will gather to show their opposition in Perth outside the SNP Conference.

Fracking and the associated risks have been in the Scottish media spotlight for some time, thanks to the events of Balcombe in West Sussex. Fracking and other forms of unconventional gas extraction including coal bed methane and underground coal gasification are being considered in areas of Scotland, and these would cause unnecessary risks to our environment and people’s health.

Maria Montinaro, Spokesperson for Concerned Communities of Falkirk, said, 

“Following much research and investigation, Concerned Communities of Falkirk have come to the conclusion that the risks of Unconventional Gas significantly outweigh the benefits. This is non-sustainable development which will primarily benefit private organisations at the expense of our communities, our environment and our existing industries. The Community Charter, a first for Scotland and the UK, sets out our rights and responsibilities to participate in planning processes that could affect our assets, and to have our views made a material consideration in all related decisions.

“Falkirk and the other informed communities who are opposing Unconventional Gas Developments are not NIMBYs. We are saying – Not In Anyone’s Back Yard. Unconventional Gas must not be given the green light in Scotland. We ask our Scottish Government to take the lead on behalf of its people, to ban this industry, protecting and safeguarding its citizens.”

A spokesperson for Canonbie Residents Against Coal Developments, CRACD, said, 

“Local People in Canonbie are only now beginning to realise the true extent of Buccleuch Estates Coal Development Plans for this area.

“A recent ‘Private’ presentation to local politicians revealed that, in addition to coalbed methane drilling across the whole area, and an unspecified number of opencast sites,

Buccleuch intends to pursue Underground Coal Gasification.

“The technology for this is being developed by a Newcastle Company, Five-Quarter; a company in which Buccleuch’s ‘energy’ manager, Mark Oddy, is Commercial Director.

“Despite a recent Household Survey undertaken by CRACD, involving more than 360 local residents, which confirmed that more than 90% rejected the coal proposals, Buccleuch seem determined to proceed, and to ignore the community.

“At least until such times as Scottish Planning and other regulatory frameworks can be overhauled to ensure that public safety and environmental risks are addressed, the people of Canonbie call on the Scottish Government to protect their community, and impose an immediate moratorium on all drilling.”

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns, said,

“The SNP already know that unconventional gas is unnecessary here in Scotland, and it is clear from countries where the industry is more developed that it is unsafe. We’re going to the SNP conference on Global Frackdown Day, along with communities facing these developments on their doorsteps, to show the Government that it is unwanted, too.”

A public inquiry is due to consider an application for commercial coalbed methane extraction at Airth, near Falkirk, next year, following over 2,500 objections. The project, by Australian company Dart Energy, is the most advanced unconventional gas project in the UK. If it goes ahead, it could open the door on thousands of gas wells across the central belt of Scotland.

Friends of the Earth Scotland are calling for a ban on all unconventional gas extraction because of the climate and local environmental and health risks associated with the industry.



For media enquiries, please contact:

Lisa Trainer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland

t: 0131 243 2715

e: ltrainer@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. Global Frackdown Day is supported by over 200 organisations around the world. Find out more at http://www.globalfrackdown.org/. The rally will start at 12 noon outside the SNP conference, Perth Concert Hall. For those interested in hearing about the perspective of affected communities, there is a fringe presentation organised by Concerned Communities of Falkirk at 12.45 – 13.45pm in the Moncrieffe Suite, Salutation Hotel.

2. Australian company Dart Energy is the leading unconventional gas developer in Scotland. Dart’s flagship development at Airth, near Falkirk faces strong community opposition and has been beset by delays. In June 2013 Dart appealed their application for 22 new wells, a gas and water treatment facility and a network of pipelines to the Scottish Government on grounds of non-determination. A Public Inquiry process is expected to start in November 2013. Dart also plan to drill for coalbed methane at Canonbie, where the company has planning permission for wells at 19 sites; it also has a further two licenses to explore large areas in Fife. Another company – Reach Coal Seam Gas – is hoping to develop coalbed methane in North Lanarkshire, where it has a license to explore a large area. However, the company recently withdrew a planning application for a development at Moodiesburn, following significant public opposition.

3. In 2014 the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will launch the tendering process for its 14th round of onshore licensing during which a vast swathe of the central belt of Scotland could be put out to tender for oil and gas exploration.

4. The industry in Australia estimates that up to 40% of coalbed methane wells will eventually be fracked. See Australian National Greenhouse Accounts, Coal Seam Gas Estimation and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2012, http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/emissions/~/media/climate…

5. A study by the Queensland Government found that 44% of the 58 wells tested in 3 fields were leaking http://mines.industry.qld.gov.au/assets/petroleum-pdf/tara_leaking_well_…. Research by the Southern Cross University in Australia found gas was leaking at around 3.5 times the level expected in coalbed methane fields http://www.scu.edu.au/news/media.php?item_id=6041&action=show_item.

6. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas that over its short lifetime is over a hundred times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide. Research indicates that unconventional gas could be worse in climate terms than burning coal because of methane leakage from gas fields. Seehttp://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/Howarthetal2012_Final.pdf from Cornell University and http://www.nature.com/news/methane-leaks-erode-green-credentials-of-natu… from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who found that 9% of total gas production at a field in Utah was leaking into the atmosphere.

7. An investigation by a GP in early 2013 of 38 households in close proximity to coal seam gas wells in Tara, Queensland, found that 58% of residents reported definite adverse health effects related to gas drilling and a further 19% were uncertain. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, rashes, joint and muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, and spontaneous nosebleeds. See http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/lockthegate/pages/49/attachments/or…

8. Bans and moratoria around the world

France: A nationwide ban on fracking 

Switzerland: A moratorium on fracking was introduced in the canton of Fribourg 

Germany: Moratorium in Northrhine-Westphalia on fracking. Lower Saxony likely to do the same. 

Bulgaria: Government banned fracking 

Czech Republic: A moratorium on fracking, considering outright ban 

Spain: Cantabria banned fracking, La Rioja is also currently considering same

Netherlands: Moratorium on unconventional fossil fuels 

Denmark: Moratorium on fracking 

Quebec: A moratorium on fracking 

United States: Vermont banned fracking, and New York has moratorium 

New South Wales: ban on any coal bed methane activity within 2km of residential areas, and within critical industry clusters such as winegrowing areas

Ireland: 2-year moratorium on fracking

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, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.