Commenting on the launch of a major consultation on fracking today (Tuesday 31 January), Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for public health and threatens communities across Scotland. Nation-wide resistance led the Scottish Government to call a halt to onshore gas drilling and fracking two years ago. If we don’t turn the current moratorium into a ban, communities across the central belt of Scotland will continue to be at risk from this dirty industry.

“Going after yet more fossil fuels is utterly at odds with the Scottish Government's ambition to be a low carbon world leader. As the climate crisis gets ever more urgent, it's clear there is no place for fracked gas in Scotland's energy future.

“The Scottish Government's own research shows that the economic case for pursuing an unconventional oil and gas industry in Scotland simply doesn't stand up, while the risks of doing so could be utterly devastating for communities and the environment.

“No state has had a moratorium on fracking, looked at the evidence, and decided it’s a good idea.

“Support for fracking is at an all time low. People just don't want this dirty, dangerous industry. We will be encouraging people to respond in huge numbers and are confident that they will give a clear signal to the Scottish Government to ban fracking for good.”

ENDS

Take action to tell the Scottish Government that you don't want fracking: act.stopfracking.scot/ban

Notes to editors

1. The consultation is available online at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/fracking-unconventional-oil-and-gas/

It will run from 31st January – 31st May 2017.

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland are supporting people and communities to engage with the consultation. Find out more at: www.stopfracking.scot

3. Responding to widespread public pressure, the Scottish Government introduced a moratorium on onshore oil and gas extraction on 28 January 2015, and commissioned a Public Health Impact Assessment and studies on climate impacts, economic impacts, transport impacts, seismic activity and decommissioning of the industry in October 2015.

The reports say:

Climate impacts: developing an unconventional gas industry will make it harder to meet our climate targets; left unregulated the emissions footprint due to methane (a highly potent greenhouse gas) leakage could be substantial.

Health impacts: there is evidence that a number of air and water born environmental hazards would be likely to occur as a result of fracking operations; evidence that Unconventional Oil and Gas workers health could be at risk from the use of silica in fracking operations; and evidence of other industry hazards that could pose a risk to the health of nearby residents.

Economic impacts: it is unclear if the fracking industry could ever be commercially viable in Scotland; if the industry did go ahead it would likely only contribute on average 0.1% of GDP, with a direct spend of £2.2bn in Scotland up to 2062, and only bring 1,400 direct and indirect jobs; current low oil prices mean it would be extremely challenging climate to develop Unconventional Oil and Gas in Scotland.

Transport impacts: Unconventional Oil and Gas operations will result in increased traffic for communities, potentially over very many years; increased traffic could result in more noise, emissions, road damage and accidents.

Our verdict on the studies is available at: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/2202
The studies are available at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/Recent

4. Fracking has been halted, banned or restricted in: Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland; Ireland; Denmark; France; Germany; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; the Netherlands; the Spanish regions of Cantabria, La Rioja, Navarra and Catalonia; the Flemish region of Belgium; Canadian states of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador; Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Maryland in the USA; New South Wales and Victoria in Australia; as well as a huge number of local and regional bans around the world.

5. On 8 October 2016, responding to strong public opposition, the Scottish Government banned underground coal gasification, another extreme fossil fuel extraction technology, with many similar risks to shale gas fracking and coalbed methane. Our response at: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/UCG-ban

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