Friends of the Earth Scotland calls on SNP to clarify fracking position

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 15 July 2015 in News

Friends of the Earth director calls for Nicola Sturgeon to publish details of meeting with Ineos chief executive

Friends of the Earth Scotland have called for Nicola Sturgeon to clarify the SNP’s position on fracking, after Ineos chief executive Jim Ratcliffe was reported to claim he has received private assurances from the party that it is not opposed to use of the technique.

The SNP introduced a moratorium on fracking in January in order to carry out an assessment on health and safety issues, while many SNP candidates entered the general election pledging to oppose its use.

Friends of the Earth director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Given that Jim Ratcliffe is now using his conversation with the First Minister to back up his claims on fracking, Nicola Sturgeon urgently needs to publish a note of their meeting and make a statement on what she did and didn't say to the Ineos boss.”

He added: “The Scottish Government is officially neither for nor against fracking, that is after all why we are having a moratorium while the evidence is examined and the public are asked what they think.  So, in some respects, Jim Ratcliffe is merely stating the obvious. 

“We don’t share Ineos’ rosy view of the world, we’re convinced that Scotland will move to a full ban on fracking when we’ve looked at the evidence of health impacts, environmental contamination and climate change emissions that this industry has brought elsewhere.”

Speaking to the Herald, Ratcliffe was reported to say: “What they've said to us is they're not against fracking. But what they do need to do is get comfortable with whether they're happy with the risks of fracking in Scotland. They want to spend a couple of years understanding it in more detail. I think that's a responsible thing for them to do and say. We don't need to do any fracking for the next couple of years. What we'd like to do is just drill a couple of holes, do the seismic, and just find out what's down there.”

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