As fracking consultation opens to the public, groups mobilised to demand a final full ban
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS have told the Scottish Government that a full ban on fracking in Scotland is necessary to uphold public health and energy sustainability.
Their comments came in response to the Scottish Government announcing yesterday (Tuesday 31 January) the opening of its public consultation on unconventional extraction coal and gas.
The move comes after the Scottish Government gave firm commitments to its new climate change strategy which included plans to cut Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 66 per cent over the next 15 years.
“Going after yet more fossil fuels is utterly at odds with the Scottish Government’s ambition to be a low carbon world leader.” Mary Church
Commenting on the launch of the consultation on fracking, Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoEs) 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. No state has had a moratorium on fracking, looked at the evidence, and decided it’s a good idea.”
However, the response from business has been markedly different given that many in the financial and energy sector argue that fracking would add value to the Scottish economy. KPMG the auditing firm last year produced a report saying that £3.9bn could be added to the Scottish economy as a result of fracking.
Speaking to CommonSpace, a spokesperson from KPMG Edinburgh described the findings of its research as “clearly favourable” but stressed that the evidence it had given to the Scottish Government was part of only a number of economic scenarios.
Additionally, business has not been able to refute the science-based consultations provided to the Scottish government by organisations such as WWF, FoEs and university ecology and energy experts.
“When given the choice, opinion polling tells us that the public always backs clean renewables over polluting fossil fuels.” Lang Banks
Areas of England, such as Lancashire have seen the go-ahead given for fracking to commence meaning the displacement of communities and the possible contamination of land and water supplies in the North of England.
In the US west and mid-west huge tracks of land have already witnessed large scale contamination of nature and water reserves with residents in states such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania having flames and methane emerging from their kitchen taps.
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “Any decision to access more fossil fuel reserves by using fracking would fly in the face of the Scottish Government’s much welcomed ambition of securing half of all of Scotland’s energy needs from renewables by 2030.
“When given the choice, opinion polling tells us that the public always backs clean renewables over polluting fossil fuels. We are confident that by the end of this consultation the public will give fracking a resounding thumbs down.”
Aside from campaigning groups, political opponents have been steadily putting pressure on the Scottish Government to sway either towards a full ban or open Scotland up for fracking. The Scottish Conservatives claim that a ban would damage the economy and “rule out economic opportunities”.
The Scottish Green Party has said that relying on fossil fuels would lead to “a lack of sustainability and high unemployment” in the future.
Picture courtesy of WCN 24/7
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