A backbench SNP MP in Holyrood is today (7 Oct) hosting a briefing for MSPs in Edinburgh by a former UK Foreign Office diplomat and anti-fracking campaigner.
Colin Beattie, the MSP for the former mining area of Midlothian, has invited ex-diplomat John Ashton, CBE, to share his recent experiences from the front line of the intensifying struggle over fracking in England at a Parliamentary reception.
Ashton, first trained and worked briefly as a physicist, then spent 30 years as a British diplomat. From 2006-12 he was the Special Representative for Climate Change for three successive UK foreign secretaries.
He is due to explain why, since leaving Government in 2012, he has become a vocal critic of the effort to commercialise fracking in England and why he has come to see opposition to unconventional hydrocarbon extraction as crucial for the UK’s response to climate change.
Prior to his presentation, Ashton is also due to visit Grangemouth, the petrochemical plant owned by INEOS, which is planning to exploit shale gas through fracking in the Central Belt.
The ruling SNP Scottish Government announced a temporary moratorium on planning development applications for shale gas mining in February 2015. In England, the UK Government recently introduced planning modifications to speed up the development of the shale gas industry.
The Scottish moratorium will be the subject of a debate on 16 October at the SNP’s annual conference.
See also our POLICY PLATFORM expert article by Prof. Paul Younger, Glasgow University:
‘Shale gas may not offer an ideal solution to our energy needs. But banning it makes neither economic nor environmental sense.