GMB Scotland urges MSPs to be ‘frank and fair’ over fracking for Scottish shale gas

UK Govt. graphic on typical onshore gas field showing (to scale) Big Ben (look closely, bottom left)
UK Govt. graphic on typical onshore gas field showing (to scale) Big Ben (look closely, bottom left)

As the Scottish Government’s latest – and third – consultation on onshore oil and gas (aka fracking) closed last night, the GMB trade union called on MSPs to ‘step out of the Holyrood bubble’ and to be frank about the reality of a Scottish energy future with domestic gas.

The GMB – Scotland’s trade union for gas workers – recently submitted its report produced by the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Energy Policy, ‘Natural Gas in the Energy Policy of the UK and Scotland’, which states that the choice facing the country is not one of ‘whether to include gas in our energy mix for the foreseeable future’, but ‘where will our gas come from?

According to the Scottish Government’s own draft Scottish Energy Strategy, four in every five households are dependent on gas for their primary heating fuel.

Amid rising fuel poverty, in-work poverty and dependence on energy imports, GMB has been urging politicians to explain the cost, environmental and employment implications of winding-down domestic gas production to meet lofty renewable energy targets.

Gary Smith
Gary Smith

Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, said: “There is no getting away from the fact that Scotland’s needs gas to provide affordable and secure heat for around 80 per cent of our households. The question is: ‘Where  will it come from?

“Gas is cheap and efficient while electricity is three times more expensive than gas. Without domestic gas we either become more dependent on imports or commit the public to higher heating bills or possibly even both.

“Even if we leave aside the ethical and security concerns of relying on imported gas, ignoring the climate consequence of shipping gas around the world in order to sustain homes and industry in Scotland is frankly hypocritical.

“Domestic shale gas could be produced to the highest standards of regulation and within the window of our existing international commitments, defending affordability and security of supply against the backdrop of on-going decline in North Sea output.

“If we aren’t even prepared to explore the possibilities on domestic shale production then our political  elite need to step out of their Holyrood bubble and be honest about how they intend to deliver an  affordable, prosperous and secure energy future.”

See also:

Scottish onshore oil and gas industry could create 3,000 new jobs and £4 billion in tax receipts – if Sturgeon lifts fracking ban


Fibbing by Friends of Earth with false fracking claims will make Scot-Govt’s final public consultation** on shale gas worthless

The SNP-led Scot-govt. imposed a ‘temporary’ moratorium on onshore exploration for shale gas in Jan 2015. Despite two previous, independent, expert scientific reports concluding that fracking could be safely carried out in Scotland under current – or even enhanced – regulations, Scottish Energy Minister Paul Whitehouse launched a third (public opinion) consultation in October last year.

Friends of the Earth yesterday said that ‘more than 40,000 people’ responded to the Scottish Government consultation** on fracking calling for an outright ban.

See also:

Scottish Energy Minister’s superstition-driven decision-making on fracking helps no one


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