Falkirk MSPs challenge fracking decision

Drilling rigs like this one at Letham Moss could become common place
Drilling rigs like this one at Letham Moss could become common place

Falkirk’s MSPs say the Scottish Government is right to challenge plans to allow controversial fracking for gas and oil under householders’ homes.

Despite a survey showing 99 per cent of residents who took part in a consultation exercise across the UK are against drilling so near their properties, the UK Government has given companies the green light to go ahead with their exploration plans without needing any right of access.

Falkirk district is an area where potentially billions of pounds worth of shale gas and oil can be recovered. A decision on whether Dart Energy should be allowed to drill for coalbed methane on a commercial scale at Letham Moss near Airth is expected soon and earlier this year it sold a majority share of its drilling licence to Grangemouth petrochemical giant Ineos which will allow it to explore further.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said: “The Scottish Government has every right to object to this. Public opinion must not be ignored in this ‘dash for gas’.

“Westmintster’s gung-ho approach to fracking is the exact opposite to what is needed. They have completely failed to listen. Whatever your view on unconventional oil and gas extraction, it makes no sense to ride roughshod over public opinion.”

Falkirk MSP Michael Matheson said: “The failure to take on board the concerns of my constituents in Larbert and Stenhousemuir is a great worry. The decisions on oil and gas drilling should be made by the people who live in Scotland, through the parliament and government they elected.”