Friends of the Earth Scotland has today welcomed a statement on fracking at Holyrood, in which Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse committed the Scottish Government to acting in accordance with the will of Parliament on this critical issue. The Scottish Parliament voted to ban fracking in June last year.

The Minister reiterated that the Scottish Government would make a recommendation to Parliament later this year, which MSPs would have the opportunity to debate and vote on, before Ministers made their minds up on how to act. Mr Wheelhouse then went on to say that “of course [the Scottish Government] will respect the will of Parliament on this issue.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns, Mary Church said:

“This is a very welcome commitment from the Energy Minister that Government will be bound by the will of Parliament on whether or not to allow the fracking industry to go ahead. Given the views of the main parties on fracking, with Greens, Labour and Lib Dems firmly opposed to the industry and the Conservatives in favour, the deciding votes will be cast by SNP members.

“More than ten thousand people have already participated in the consultation, the vast majority undoubtedly calling for an outright ban.

“Parliament has already voted to ban fracking once, and we are confident that if MSPs of all parties listen to the views of their constituents, it will do so again, resoundingly.

“Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for public health and threatens communities across Scotland. It should have no place in our energy future. Banning fracking and other forms of unconventional oil and gas in law is the best way to protect the environment, provide certainty for communities and send a clear signal to investors that Scotland's energy future lies with renewables, not fossil fuels. “

Since the Scottish Government's consultation was launched legislation banning fracking in the Australian state of Victoria and Maryland in the US has been passed.

The vote on the future of fracking is expected to take place before the end of 2017, following an analysis of responses to the public consultation that is currently underway.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Members of the public can respond to the fracking consultation by visiting https://act.foe.scot/banfracking

2. In June 2016 the Scottish Parliament voted to ban fracking on the grounds of climate change. Greens, Labour and Lib Dems voted together in favour of a ban, while Conservatives voted against and the SNP abstained. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-36422083

3. The Scottish Government's consultation on fracking is due to end on 31 May 2017 https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/fracking-unconventional-oil-and-gas/

4. Maryland lawmakers votes to ban fracking (March 2017) http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/326078-maryland-lawmakers-vote-to-ban-fracking

Fracking ban to be introduced in Victoria, Australia (Feb 2017) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-07/fracking-set-to-be-banned-in-victoria/8248948

5. 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.