Scottish Labour will oppose fracking
Scottish Labour will include a pledge to oppose fracking in its manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections, according to Kezia Dugdale.
The Scottish Government introduced a moratorium on fracking – a form of unconventional gas extraction – in January 2015 while it gathers evidence on possible environmental risks associated with the technique.
During FMQs Dugdale referred to press reports which suggested Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and chief executive of Ineos, had claimed to receive private assurances from the SNP that it is not opposed to fracking.
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Dugdale said: “The SNP says that fracking is bad, and it has imposed a temporary freeze on that. A big report has been ordered, but all the signs are that the SNP will go ahead and do it anyway. Labour would not allow fracking in Scotland. Can the First Minister give the same guarantee?”
Sturgeon responded: “There will be no fracking in Scotland because there is a moratorium on fracking. That is what a moratorium means – it ain’t allowed to happen. We will not take risks with our environment while there are so many unanswered questions. That is the responsible way to proceed.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks welcomed Dugdale’s announcement.
He said: “The party's very clear position reflects what climate science tells us and the overwhelming public opinion in favour of cleaner forms of energy.
“The Scottish Government's current moratorium on fracking is not the same as permanent ban, as we've consistently called for it to become.
“As we fast approach the Scottish elections, we call on each political parties to keep their promise to publish a manifesto that delivers on the Climate Change Act. We need to hear from each of Scotland's parties how they plan to deliver on their promise to cut emissions and secure the benefits of low-carbon Scotland.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns, Mary Church, said: “It is fantastic news that Labour have come out unequivocally opposed to fracking. A huge amount of evidence about public health, environmental and climate impacts from around the world provides a strong precautionary basis for banning this unsafe and unnecessary industry, and the Labour Party in Scotland have recognised that.
She added: “Pressure is mounting on the Scottish Government to act to ban unconventional fossil fuels, from its own members, from communities across Scotland and now from the official opposition.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrats last week voted for to lift the moratorium on fracking at the party’s spring conference.