Friends of the Earth Scotland today (30 April 2013) welcomed a major change in policy from the Scottish Government that will make it much more difficult for companies to exploit unconventional gas and fracking in Scotland.

Mary Church, Campaigns Co-ordinator at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“This is a major change of policy on unconventional gas. Instead of being gung ho for any old fossil fuel, however dirty, the Scottish Government have made it clear that local authorities can consider the impacts on communities and the environment when considering applications for coalbed methane and fracking.

“It is very welcome that Scotland is taking a lead from New South Wales in proposing the need for buffer zones around unconventional gas developments. This could spell the end for Dart’s coalbed methane proposal at Airth.”

Scottish Planning Policy previously held a presumption in favour of extracting unconventional gas including coalbed methane and shale gas, paving the way for potentially thousands of gas wells and the use of hydraulic fracturing in central and southern Scotland.

The new draft policy published today removes the presumption in favour of this new and polluting fossil fuel and proposes the need for buffer zones around developments to protect communities.

Church added:

“We are calling on the Government to go one step further and ban all unconventional gas extraction in Scotland, including coalbed methane. The industry has failed to prove that the processes involved are safe and communities in Australia are starting to see the devastating impacts on their health and way of life. Scotland doesn’t need this unproven, unsafe gas. The Government should focus instead on making the most of our plentiful renewable resources.”

ENDS

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

Notes to Editors

1. Link to Scottish Planning Policy draft:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00421076.pdf

2. 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