Calls to ban fracking forever as study ends

Fracking protests have become a common sight throughout the area over the last few years
Fracking protests have become a common sight throughout the area over the last few years

The consultation into fracking came to an end this week leading to calls for the controversial practice to be banned for good.

Falkirk’s elected SNP members submitted a report to the Scottish Government urging the current moratorium on fracking and Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) extraction be replaced with a full ban.

Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald

Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald

The joint submission, from Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald and SNP candidates for Falkirk and Linlithgow and East Falkirk John McNally and Martyn Day, comes at the end of a four-month consultation.

The Scottish Government will analyse the thousands of responses it received over the next few months with the aim of making a recommendation to the Scottish Parliament before the end of the year.

MSPs will then be invited to debate and vote on the issue, before ministers make their minds up on the future of the industry.

Mr MacDonald said: “There can be no guarantees given on the safeguarding of our natural heritage, and the health, safety and wellbeing of our citizens. For the little, short term benefit these processes may have, there are medium to long term issues that remain unquantified for the preservation of land, water and our population which is of a great deal more benefit to us and our communities than these processes could ever bring.”

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn, who backed the submission, added: “After careful consideration of the evidence, this was the only call which could be made. There is absolutely no point in putting sectors of our economy at risk for the benefit of the few.

“Jobs, water quality, food and drink would all be unnecessarily put at risk, for something which will never be accurately forecast in terms of benefit to the economy.”

Environmental groups agreed.

Mary Church, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The response clearly demonstrates Scotland’s overwhelming rejection of fracking. Combined with powerful evidence of multiple health and environmental risks, and the clear conflict with our climate change plans, this reaction to the prospect of fracking in Scotland must surely convince the minister a full ban in law is the only reasonable way forward.”

Companies which have invested heavily in UOG extraction and the fracking industry, like Ineos in Grangemouth, have continually promoted the economic benefits the process could bring locally and nationally.

Just last month union GMB Scotland spoke out in favour of the fracking industry, stating: “The idea we can afford to heat our homes, power our economy and sustain thousands of jobs without domestic gas production is just pie in the sky politics and the main losers will be hard working Scots.”