Commenting on the news that the SNP will vote in favour of a moratorium on unconventional gas and fracking when the Infrastructure Bill is debated in Westminster on Monday, Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“It is very welcome that the SNP will support a moratorium on unconventional gas and fracking across Britain in a vote on the UK Infrastructure Bill on Monday. If this amendment gets through it will protect communities the length and breadth of the land. We sincerely hope that enough MPs from all parties vote the right way to make this a reality.

Amendments to the Infrastructure Bill will be debated and voted on Monday. Three amendments to stop unconventional gas and fracking have been proposed.

Church continued: “The recent proliferation of amendments to the Infrastructure Bill on the issue of fracking are a direct response to the passionate and informed opposition from community groups and concerned citizens. It is clear that fracking is fast becoming a toxic election issue.

“While the SNP’s support for this amendment is great, it is not yet a declaration of full support for a moratorium or ban in Scotland.”

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP is promising a strengthening of the Government's position in a statement next week.

Church concluded: “It is clear that the Scottish Government could call a halt on unconventional gas exploitation immediately using existing powers. It is now only a small step from this stance at Westminster to the Scottish Government implementing a moratorium on unconventional gas and fracking while they fully examine the impacts of this industry on health, climate, and the environment, and address gaps in the regulatory framework. Even better, the Scottish Government should just ban this unnecessary industry altogether and focus on making the most of our abundant renewable energy resources.

“We urge Ministers to act now to stop this industry getting a foothold in Scotland if the vote goes the wrong way [on Monday].”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

1. Mike Weir MP, SNP Energy and Climate Change Spokesperson at Westminster said on Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland that the party’s MPs will vote for a moratorium on unconventional gas and fracking in Monday's Infrastructure Bill vote in the House of Commons.

2. Amendments to the Infrastructure Bill can be seen here: services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/infrastructure/documents.html

3. Reaction to Scottish Labour’s announcement on Saturday: www.foe-scotland.org.uk/Scottish-Labour-fracking

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, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk