Campaigners call for fracking ban on eve of Scottish Government statement

Friends of the Earth Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to “legally ban fracking” in a statement due to be made on Thursday.

A business motion submitted in the chamber on Tuesday scheduled an announcement by a minister for 2pm on Thursday on “Scotland’s Onshore Unconventional Oil and Gas Policy”.

It is unclear which minister will be making the statement, or what will be said.

The announcement will be two years to the day since energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced an “effective ban” on the practice, which was knocked down in court following a challenge from energy firm Ineos.

A moratorium has been placed on fracking in Scotland since 2015, but campaigners are now calling for an end to the issue “once and for all”.

Mary Church, the head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Ministers must live up their rhetoric and fulfil the promises of two years ago by committing to a full legal ban on fracking that will put this issue to bed once and for all.

“The effective ban announced two years ago has been exposed in court as having no legal force and was described by the Scottish Government’s own legal team as merely ‘the language of a press release’.

“An expert legal opinion from earlier this year shows that not only is it well within the power of the Scottish Government to ban fracking, but that legislating would be a far more effective way to stop the industry and defeat any further legal challenges from companies like Ineos who want to frack the central belt.

“We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and now is the time for tough decisions to lay the framework for the system change we need to make happen over the next decade if we are to avoid outright catastrophe.

“A full legal ban on fracking will be much harder for a future minority government to overturn and will send a strong signal to the fossil fuel industry that its days are numbered.”

Ms Church said this move would prove how serious the Scottish Government is taking its pledge to fight climate change.

She added: “The Scottish Government has announced a climate emergency – it now needs to start acting like it means it.

“That includes taking a much tougher stance with big, polluting corporations, ending its support for new oil and gas and using the powers it has to pass strong laws in the Scottish Parliament to drive the transformative change we need.”

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