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by Liam Kirkaldy
17 July 2015
Ken Macintosh urges Scottish Labour to strengthen position on fracking

Ken Macintosh urges Scottish Labour to strengthen position on fracking

Ken Macintosh has vowed to strengthen Scottish Labour’s opposition to fracking if elected party leader.

Macintosh’s announcement comes following reported claims from Ineos chief executive Jim Ratcliffe that he has received private assurances from the SNP that it is not opposed to use of the technique.

Scottish Labour has stated it would only accept fracking on the condition that new regulations were put in place and communities were given the right to a referendum on planning applications. But Macintosh has urged the party to go further, arguing Scottish Labour should oppose the technique altogether.

Macintosh said: “I am against fracking and I believe Scottish Labour should be too.  Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will make the argument against fracking based on our commitment to building a more environmentally friendly Scotland.

“The safety of the process worries many people but to me the crucial argument is about not developing new sources of carbon based fuels.  Under the current Scottish Government, Scotland has failed to meet our emissions targets for four years running.

“If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need stronger political commitment than this.  Under my leadership, Scottish Labour will lead that agenda once more.”

The SNP introduced a moratorium on fracking in January, however the comments from Ratcliffe led to calls from environmental groups for clarity on the party's position.

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.”

Meanwhile Green MSP Alison Johnstone MSP said she was sceptical of Ratcliffe’s claims.

She said: “We know that the Scottish Government’s moratorium is only temporary, however, the strength of public opinion on the matter that helped us achieve that measure gives me full confidence that the Scottish public will continue to be heard.

“The latest comments from Mr Ratcliffe are not surprising given his vested interest, but what I would find surprising is if his vision of a Scotland with more polluting fossil fuels at the heart of our industrial future is shared by the majority of Scots.

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Read the most recent article written by Liam Kirkaldy - Sketch: If the Queen won’t do it, it’ll just have to be Matt Hancock.



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