Anti-fracking groups, community councillors and concerned citizens are protesting outside the SNP conference in Edinburgh today (Saturday 27 April) to demand the Scottish Government bans fracking in Scotland once and for all.

The protest comes after Ministers announced additional consultation and further delay in making a final decision on fracking. It also follows the publication of a legal opinion from one of Scotland top lawyers, confirming Holyrood has the powers to ban fracking in law, and that doing so would be less likely to result in successful legal challenges from companies with an interest in the industry, than the present policy approach.

Donald Campbell, Chair of the Broad Alliance Against Unconventional Gas said:

“The Broad Alliance are, once again, present at the SNP Conference to remind our Government that we are committed to standing against fracking until we have a full ban in law. We are here to ask SNP members to support us by raising our concerns at Conference that the present approach to stopping fracking is vulnerable to being overturned by a future government with the stroke of a pen.”

Iain Black, SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas (SMAUG) said:

“We warmly welcome the fact the Scottish Government has stopped fracking in Scotland for over 4 years, and understand its not something the SNP wants to happen now, or ever. However, given recent developments including the legal opinion, we think the current approach is not strong enough, and want the Government to explore using new licensing powers to pass a robust legal ban.”

Penny Cole, Frackwatch Glasgow said:

“By choosing to continue the moratorium, rather than pass a law against fracking, the Scottish Government is prolonging the agony for people living in license areas. They claim a law might be open to legal challenge, but Ireland has done it – why can’t we? Frackwatch calls on people to contact their MSP and remind them of Nicola Sturgeon’s words ‘fracking is being banned – end of story’. We call on the Government get a move on and act to ban fracking once and for all.”

Callum McLeod, Our Forth Against Unconventional Gas said:

“Our Forth would be more than disappointed with the Scottish Government, if they did not go on to fulfil the obligations, reassurances,  and promises which we understood they’d given. We are also sure the more 60, 000 plus other people who signed the petition asking for a ban on unconventional gas extraction in Scotland alongside us, would question the potential hollowness of all future statements and promises they go on to make.  Like governments, policies can quickly be changed. We can’t afford to take backward steps at this critical point in time and really need the vision, reassurance, collective trust, and an affirmation of good leadership which a fully legal ban would give”.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“Communities on the frontline of this dirty industry have been waiting for over four years for the Scottish Government to bring its long drawn out process on unconventional oil and gas to an end. It is high time for Ministers to live up to their rhetoric and ban fracking for good. We have a clear legal opinion confirming it is both possible and more watertight to legislate to prohibit fracking, and Holyrood has a clear mandate from the people of Scotland to do so. If the present Scottish Government cares an ounce about its legacy, we urge it to work together with anti-fracking parties to pass a law banning fracking and finally put this issue to bed once and for all.”


NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Having promised a final decision on unconventional oil and gas by Easter 2019, last month the Scottish Government announced a further consultation pushing a decision back to Autumn at the soonest. https://foe.scot/press-release/scottish-government-decision-on-fracking-kicked-further-down-road/
  2. FoES commissioned a legal opinion from one of Scotland’s top lawyers, Aidan O’Neill QC, to bring some clarity to the debate about whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate to ban fracking.  The opinion says that the Scottish Parliament can pass a law to ban fracking and that doing so would be less likely to result in successful legal challenges from companies with an interest in the industry, than the present policy approach. https://foe.scot/press-release/fracking-legal-opinion/
  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, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
    www.foe.scot