Westminster Committee tears into fracking before key vote
Reacting to today’s damning report on fracking from Westminster’s influential Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“The MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have clearly not been impressed by the industry’s hype and their damning report should spell the end for the UK’s dash for shale gas.
“The Committee says fracking would be a disaster for our climate targets and that far too many uncertainties remain over local impacts on water, soil and human health. The Report also says shale gas is unlikely to be commercially viable anyway, so the UK Government 'all out for shale' policy makes no sense whatsoever.
“Members of the Committee were so alarmed by the evidence presented to them that they have proposed one of three amendments to the UK Infrastructure Bill which would introduce a moratorium or ban on unconventional gas and fracking. We urge all MPs to do the right thing today and vote to put a stop to unconventional gas.”
Amendments to the Infrastructure Bill will be debated and voted on this afternoon. Between them the three amendments to stop unconventional gas and fracking are supported by MPs from the Conservatives, the Greens, Labour, the LibDems and Plaid Cymru. Scottish Labour MPs Mark Lazarowicz and Katy Clark are listed amongst the proposers of one of the moratorium amendments.
Church continued: “We welcome commitments over the weekend by both Scottish Labour and the SNP. Labour have upped the ante by committing to a moratorium on shale gas fracking if they get elected to Holyrood next year. The SNP’s commitment to vote for a moratorium at the UK level is more limited and will not protect communities if these amendments to the Infrastructure Bill are not voted through.
“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 Scottish Ministers to act now to stop this industry getting a foothold in Scotland if the vote goes the wrong way today.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Environmental Audit Committee report will be available here: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/publications/
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. Reaction to SNP MPs’ commitment to vote for a moratorium on fracking:
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, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.