Fracking debate heating up as Holyrood votes on new legislation

MSPs are to debate and vote on the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking north of the border – and the only political party opposing the ban are the Conservatives.

Ministers have pledged to seek authorisation from parliament for the move, leading to the debate and vote scheduled at Holyrood today. Organisations supporting the ban have raised concerns over the impact of fracking on health and the environment, while opposing parties have attempted to highlight economic benefits.

Scottish Labour’s Claudia Beamish said she welcomed the “indefinite extension of the moratorium”, but said the proposals “do not go far enough or offer the protection” that her bill would.

Anti-fracking groups staged a protest outside Holyrood at 1 pm today before the vote calling for legislation is to be passed. If the legislation is passed, fracking in Scotland will be banned indefinitely.

 

Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Mary Church, said:

“The Scottish Government’s plan to ban fracking is fantastic news for communities and the environment. But we would like to see Ministers go even further and secure the fracking ban in law.”

She added:

“Unfortunately, the Government’s proposal falls short of committing to passing a law like recent bans in Ireland, Victoria and Maryland. This means that a future Government could overturn this decisions with the stroke of a pen, while a ban in law would require Parliament’s approval to undo the ban on fracking.”

The Scottish Government first imposed a temporary prohibition on fracking in January 2015, while conducting a series of scientific studies and public consultations.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has accused members of opposing parties of “dancing on the head of a pin”, saying “Fracking is being banned in Scotland – end of story. There will be no fracking in Scotland, and that position could not be clearer.”

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