Commenting after the First Minister was quizzed about the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking, as it is known) at today’s First Minister’s Questions, Friends of the Earth Scotland Campaigner, Mary Church, said:

“The First Minister’s comments about fracking will provide little comfort to communities with unconventional gas exploration projects already taking place in their local area. The regulatory and planning framework that governs unconventional gas and fracking is extremely patchy when it comes to impacts on the environment.

“We know that fracking was responsible for last years earth tremors near Blackpool, and evidence from the USA, where the industry has had over a decade to try and get it right, indicates that unconventional gas extraction is poisoning water supplies and responsible for significantly higher climate change emissions than conventional gas.

“This afternoon Alex Salmond implied that the Scottish Government was content to sit back and wait and see what happens. When our climate, water and communities are at risk, that’s simply not good enough. The Scottish Government should call a halt on all unconventional gas extraction until all of the environmental impacts of unconventional gas and fracking have been thoroughly and completely assessed.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. You can view the First Ministers response to a question by Claudia Beamish, MSP for the South Scotland and Labour Environment spokesperson, 17 minutes into this video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/scotland/newsid_9713000/9713303.stm

2. New Friends of the Earth Scotland briefing on unconventional gas and fracking: www.foe-scotland.org.uk/unconventionalgas 3. 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 – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk