The Labour Party in Scotland has launched another political ploy in an attempt to force the minority-SNP-controlled Scottish Government to unilaterally impose an outright ban on onshore shale gas drilling on a permanent basis.
In January 2015, the Scot-Govt. imposed a ‘temporary’ ban using the hydraulic fracturing – a process used day and daily in offshore oil and gas exploration and recovery – onshore over (un-proven) health and safety fears.
Two reports by independent scientific experts – commissioned by the Scot-Govt – have concluded that on-shore shale gas drilling can be carried out safely within existing and/or emerging health and safety regulations.
The Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse then threw the latest expert reports open for ‘public consultation’ – in the hope that public opinion – swayed by misleading allegations widely publicised by Friends of the Earth – would come up with a ‘final verdict’ on fracking, irrespective of the scientific evidence.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority – the UK watchdog which polices the advertising industry to ensure that advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful – decided just 14 days ago that the Friends of the Earth’s anti-fracking claims were seriously misleading and should be withdrawn.
However, Claudia Beamish – the MSP who is the Labour Party’s environment spokesman – commenting last night ahead of today’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Draft Climate Change Plan, said:
“We will study the details of the government’s Draft Climate Change Plan very closely, but for it to be effective the SNP must ban fracking. A plan to tackle climate change won’t be worth the paper it is written on if it doesn’t rule out fracking.
“This is about Scotland’s future, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the condition we leave our planet in for our children and our grandchildren.
“If the SNP doesn’t act then Labour will. I have introduced a Bill to change the law to ban fracking in Scotland. We need to fulfil Scotland’s renewables potential and we can’t do that if we allow fracking in our communities.”
In the last session of parliament, the Labour party won a (non-binding) debate on its motion to ban hydraulic fracturing after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ordered her party’s MSPs (then in a Holyrood majority) to abstain.