SNP anti-fracking campaign set up ahead of party conference
SNP members have set up an anti-fracking campaign to push the party from the current moratorium to an outright ban.
The group, SNP Members Against Unconventional Oil and Gas (SMAUG), will attempt to change party policy at the upcoming policy, calling for the SNP to include underground coal gasification in the moratorium.
Iain Black, a member of SMAUG’s Forth branch, said: “Scotland already has more oil and gas than it can burn if we are going to halt damaging climate change. We can burn North Sea gas or we can burn gas from fracking but we can’t burn both. Why would we choose the one that pollutes our waterways, damages the earth under our homes and damages our health and damages our food and drinks industry?”
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Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the news, with Flick Monk, unconventional gas campaigner saying: “This new SNP anti-fracking campaign is a very welcome development and shows the great levels of opposition to unconventional gas among party branches and grassroots members. It is clear that local communities do not want their health and environment damaged by energy companies aiming to extract gas at any cost.
“SNP branches from all over the country have proposed a range of resolutions for the party conference calling for a complete ban on all unconventional fossil fuels. All eyes will now be on the party conference as SNP members will get the chance to debate how to go beyond the current moratorium and ban unconventional fossil fuels outright.”
Another member of SMAUG, Catherine Shea, from Leith, said: “We struggled to find an acronym for the group out of an unlikely set of letters but I was very happy when Iain suggested SMAUG. It recalls Tolkein’s dragon living in the depths of the earth and being disturbed by the predatory dwarves going digging for the treasures of its domain.
She continues: “This SMAUG is awakening to save us from the confused priorities that lead us to damage the very resources that we need to live – our land, our air, our water – and to protect the wee inhabitants of Middle Earth from the long blight of falling house prices and stasis in or reversal of, plans for regeneration. Once UCG licences are granted, the companies often do nothing for years, but the impact on land values and community well-being is immediate and devastating.”
The SNP has come under pressure over its stance on fracking, with the Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour calling for the party to take a tougher stance, while the Scottish Conservatives have accused the party in ignoring scientific evidence in adopting a moratorim.
In FMQs yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said: “There will be no fracking in Scotland until the Government and the Parliament are in receipt of all the relevant and necessary information to take an evidence-based decision.”