Senior SNP politicians in Falkirk district have welcomed this week’s announcement of a moratorium on planning consents for unconventional onshore oil & gas wells, including fracking, which was announced on Wednesday in the Scottish Parliament by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.
Fergus Ewing also announced that a full public consultation on unconventional oil & gas extraction will be held to ensure that the voices of communities across Scotland are heard on the issue.
Earlier this week the majority of Scottish Labour MPs failed to vote for a moratorium on fracking in the House of Commons, despite Jim Murphy stating his supposed opposition to the technology at the weekend. Every SNP MP voted in favour of a UK-wide moratorium.
The announcement has been welcomed by groups and companies on both sides of the argument. An Ineos spokesman said; “ We understand the importance of public consultation to assess the impact of unconventional oil and gas. We welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to manage an evidence based approach and the opportunity for Ineos to provide detailed information.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has listened to concerns of local residents in Falkirk district, and communities the length and breadth of the country. The SNP Government’s announcement of a moratorium will be welcomed by communities across Scotland who have been alarmed by the gung-ho stance taken by the Westminster Government.
“I am particularly pleased that the Scottish Government has acceded to my request for a full public health impact assessment. Coupled with the announced full public consultation it is clear the Scottish Government is continuing to take a balanced, responsible, evidence-based approach and will listen to the concerns of communities.
“It is encouraging that both sides of the argument have welcomed the move, including Ineos, who have said they welcome the opportunity to provide detailed information.”
“This week’s statement brings welcome clarity and stands in stark contrast to Labour’s chaotic approach to fracking. This week saw Jim Murphy announce his party’s supposed opposition to fracking before his MPs failed to support a moratorium in the House of Commons.
“The SNP Government has acted where Labour’s MPs failed and have once again shown that Jim Murphy is more interested in political posturing than concrete action.”
Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson added
“I very much welcome the news that the Energy Minister has introduced a moratorium on coal bed methane extraction and fracking. Communities in the Falkirk area were extremely concerned, as was I at its effects.
“It’s vital that evidence is garnered to ascertain what effects fracking has and important that local communities feel they are being listened to. I’m pleased that this will be done through the consultation which Fergus Ewing announced.
“Once again we see the SNP Government listening to the people of Scotland”.
SNP Westminster candidate for Falkirk, John McNally commented:
“I am aware of the considerable work undertaken by both Angus and Michael to ensure as many facts as possible were in the public domain and the decision of the government on Fracking being what was in the best interests of the people of Falkirk district.
Believe me, both MSP’s are owed a huge debt of gratitude by the community and I would add my thanks to them and to the Scottish Government for their balanced yet decisive decision to announced a moratorium on Fracking until all of the safety concerns have been addressed.”