Reacting to the news that chemicals firm Ineos will announce fracking plans for Scotland later today, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The Scottish Government have taken a very cautious approach to unconventional gas and fracking, unlike the UK Government. With much tougher planning rules, more ambitious climate targets and a review of both health issues and licensing underway, Scotland is the last place any company should apply to frack.”

“Ineos are masters of spin but they seem to have outdone themselves this time, promising something they can’t possibly deliver on. The rest of the fracking industry says shale gas won’t reduce bills but Ineos are promising cheap gas. Cuadrilla say it will take them 5 years to work out if it even worth creating a commercial industry in the UK, Ineos want to jump straight in even though we know there isn’t much shale gas under Central Belt. Ineos have previously claimed they will be producing shale gas in just 18 months but the only commercial unconventional gas application in the UK is in Scotland and has been stuck in the planning system for more than 2 years after mass objections and has now been called in by Ministers for a decision some time next year.”

The Scottish Government have created tough planning rules for any unconventional gas application and made sure that there are no current fracking licences in Scotland.

“Scotland does not need unconventional gas to meet our energy needs, and extracting and burning it will jeopardise our climate targets and expose local people to unacceptable health risks. We urge the Scottish Government to take a cautious approach by turning down this application and introducing an immediate moratorium on all unconventional gas activity.

ENDS

Notes for Editors

1. The BBC story: http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c6…

2. Dart Energy’s flagship coalbed methane development at Airth is the most advanced unconventional gas project in the UK. In June 2013 Dart appealed its application for 22 new wells, a gas and water treatment facility and a network of pipelines to the Scottish Government’s Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals on grounds of non-determination – that local authorities had taken too long. The planned development does not include the use of hydraulic fracturing technique, but the health and environmental impacts of coalbed methane extraction are similar to those of shale gas fracking. The appeal was heard by Public Inquiry in Spring 2014. Over 2,500 individual objections were lodged, with 9 community councils representing over 70,000 people and 2 local authorities calling on the Scottish Government to refuse the application. Coalbed methane activity at Dart Energy’s site at Canonbie appears to be on hold pending the outcome of the Airth decision. The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is currently investigating a complaint about the way the 19 planning permissions were dealt with. Dart Energy is being bought out by the biggest fracking company in the UK, IGas, in a deal expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

3. In the recently closed 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round 20,000 square km in Scotland were offered to tender for shale gas fracking and other hydrocarbon exploitation, FoES reaction: http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c6…

4. The UK Government intends to proceed with plans to remove peoples’ rights to object to, or even be notified about, fracking underneath their homes, despite the stated objection of the Scottish Government and over 99% of respondents to its consultation. The plans apply to shale gas and oil only as comparable rights for coalbed methane extraction were removed under the 1994 Coal Industry Act. FoES reaction: http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c…

5. Bans and moratoriums around the world include:
· France: First country to ban March 2011
· Denmark: Moratorium on fracking
· Germany: Moratorium on hydraulic fracturing since 2012, considering a ban
· Bulgaria: Ban since January 2012
· Czech Republic: Moratorium in May 2012
· Netherlands: Moratorium on unconventional fossil fuel drilling
· Spain: Cantabria banned fracking in 2013 La Rioja, Navarra and Catalonia followed suit
· Switzerland: Moratorium on fracking in the canton of Fribourg 2011
· Ireland: 2-year moratorium in March 2013
· Northern Ireland: Assembly voted for moratorium, Government failed to implement
· Canada: Quebec & Newfoundland moratorium on fracking, Nova Scotia working toward ban
· USA: Vermont banned fracking in May 2012, and New York moratorium in 2013; New Jersey ban on waste water disposal
· Australia: New South Wales, ban on any coal seam gas activity in 2km of residential areas, Feb 2013; Victoria moratorium on fracking

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