Reacting to the news that Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe claims to have received private assurances that the SNP is ‘not opposed’ to fracking. [1] Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland commented,

“Given that Jim Ratcliffe is now using his conversation with the First Minister to back up his claims on fracking, Nicola Sturgeon urgently needs to publish a note of their meeting and make a statement on what she did and didn't say to the Ineos boss. “

The Scottish Government announced a moratorium on fracking in January 28 2015. It was later revealed that Nicola Sturgeon was meeting with Mr Ratcliffe on the same day. [2]

“The Scottish Government is officially neither for nor against fracking, that is after all why we are having a moratorium while the evidence is examined and the public are asked what they think. So, in some respects, Jim Ratcliffe is merely stating the obvious. We don’t share Ineos’ rosy view of the world, we’re convinced that Scotland will move to a full ban on fracking when we’ve looked at the evidence of health impacts, environmental contamination and climate change emissions that this industry has brought elsewhere.

“Labour’s strong position on fracking is going to make the SNP look weak unless the party goes beyond a neutral stance in the run up to the Scottish Election. With many SNP MPs elected on a no fracking promise at the General Election, the SNP as a party will have to go further than the SNP as the current government of Scotland to remain credible on this issue.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Billionaire: the SNP are not opposed to fracking. Herald Scotland, 15/7/15 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/billionaire-the-snp-are-not…

2. Sturgeon held talks with Ineos chief as Government called halt to fracking. Herald Scotland 9/4/15 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/sturgeon-held-t…

3. UK Government was forced to reveal its full report into potential implications of fracking. This suggested it could reduce nearby house values by 7% and lead to widespread industrialisation of the countryside. The Telegraph, 1/7/15 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/fracking/11712040/fracking-…

4. Two fracking applications were recently refused planning permission in Lancashire 29/6/15 http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/lancashire-no-fracking

5. Ineos importing fracking gas to Scotland threatens community blight 9/7/15 http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/ineos-importing-fracked-gas

6. 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

7. Read more on the Friends of the Earth Scotland opposition to unconventional gas http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/fracking

8. Support our work to keep fracking out of Scotland http://foes.do/frack-free