Despite being opposed by party leader Willie Rennie, MSP, delegates approved the motion at their annual conference in Edinburgh over the weekend, also overturning their own existing policy in favour of a moratorium.
The Scottish Lib Dem conference amendment called for the “lifting the moratorium on planning and licensing for unconventional oil and gas extraction, granting the potential for Scottish-sourced unconventional gas to supply our important petrochemical industry.”
Members said their decision was about following the science and empowering local authorities.
Lib Dem activist and prospective Holyrood candidate Ewan Hoyle told delegates the expert advice is that ‘fracking could be done safely’.
He also said that using (shale) gas extracted in Scotland would have less of a carbon impact than importing it from countries with “dubious human rights records”.
He said: “With the INEOS petrochemical plant in Grangemouth having built enormous storage tanks in order to accept imported fuel from the US, it would be more environmentally friendly to manufacture our own petrochemicals and drive a resurgence in Scottish manufacturing from local resources”.
The Scot-Govt is presently conducting its own research to establish independent scientific evidence for, or against, unconventional onshore shale mining operations.
22 Feb 2016: Scottish Energy News