The Scottish Government has today taken steps towards a final decision on fracking by publishing a Strategic Environmental Assessment of its preferred policy position of no support [1]. The SEA highlights the significant harmful environmental impacts the industry would have if allowed to go ahead. This time last year First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament ‘fracking is being banned in Scotland, end of story” [2], yet months later the Court of Session ruled that there was no legally enforceable ban in place [3].  A final decision on fracking is expected in the new year.

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

“As the Scottish Government moves towards a final decision on fracking, it is time for Nicola Sturgeon to be true to her word and commit to a full legal ban.

“Despite statements from the First Minister to the effect that fracking is being banned, INEOS’s legal challenge earlier this year exposed the Scottish Government’s current position as having no legal force. A future minority Government could overturn the current policy not to support fracking with the stroke of a pen, and crucially, no recourse to Parliament or the will of the people.

“Only a legislative approach can ensure a robust, enforceable ban on fracking. The Scottish Government has the power to pass a law banning fracking, and a clear mandate from the people of Scotland to do so, with over 60,000 people responding to last years’ consultation calling for a ban.

“The Strategic Environmental Assessment published today highlights the many harmful impacts the industry would have if allowed to proceed. The confusion caused by INEOS’s lawsuit and the subsequent decision by Scottish Ministers to extend the term of a central belt fracking license only increase the pressure on the Scottish Government to legislate and draw a line under this issue for good.”

ENDS

Friends of the Earth Scotland are urging people to email First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to show their support for a full legal ban


NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Scottish Government’s consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment of its preferred policy position of no support for onshore unconventional oil and gas is at: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/10/7036

The Scottish Government has also published an updated version of its preferred policy position to take account of the fact that powers over onshore oil and gas licensing were transferred to Holyrood in February 2018: https://www.gov.scot/Resource/0054/00542257.pdf

2. The Herald, 5 October 2017 ‘Nicola Sturgeon: Fracking will be banned in Scotland – end of story’ https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15578977.nicola-sturgeon-fracking-will-be-banned-in-scotland-end-of-story/

3. BBC 19 June 2018 ‘Judge says fracking not banned in Scotland’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-44532985

4. 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.