Seven SNP grassroots members set up anti-shale energy group

Shale gas signA group of seven grassroots members of the SNP today launch a new intra-party group opposed to both onshore shale gas exploration and offshore underground coal gasification along the Forth estuary.

The group – SNP Members Against Unconventional Oil and Gas (SMAUG) – was formed following an activists’ meeting in Leith last weekend. The founder members are:

Iain Black (Forth), Diane Burn (Edinburgh East), Steven Carleschi (Tryst, Falkirk), Jim Doyle (Falkirk), Bill Frew (Annandale and Eskdale), Robin Thomson (Leith Walk) Catherine Shea (Leith)

Currently, a moratorium exists in Scotland temporarily halting onshore fracking and the extraction of coal-bed methane, and a vote will be held at next month’s SNP  annual conference calling for this to be extended to include underground coal gasification. 

See also:

Shale and Safety: get the fracking facts right from the Royal Society of Edinburgh

UK Task Force says shale gas must be a bridge to a low-carbon future


SMAUG spokesman Catherine Shea said: “We are proud of the SNP’s history in leading the world by setting tough carbon reduction targets.  We believe that exploiting these deposits is entirely at odds with the overwhelming scientific consensus on the need for significant carbon pollution reductions if we, as part of the global community, are to help halt dangerous climate change.

“At a community level, we also believe the evidence is clear that the techniques used cause significant local environmental and public health damage

“The SNP debated fracking and coal-bed methane extraction at its spring conference in 2015 where it voted for a moratorium, and we welcome that it has included another debate on the agenda for its national conference in October 2015.  Here the party will debate a resolution to include UCG within the moratorium.”

SMAUG is close to Our Forth – a group of communities along the Forth who are campaigning for the Scottish Government to include Underground Coal Gasification in the moratorium on unconventional hydrocarbon exploration alongside other forms of unconventional gas.

The campaign’s petition against unconventional gas extraction is supported by 8,000 signatures and a protest is planned on the Forth Road Bridge ahead of SNP conference which starts on 15 October 2015.

Callum MacLeod from Our Forth said: “These moves show the strength of feeling in the SNP grassroots, who want to ensure their party is determined in its opposition to fracking and unconventional gas. The formation of this grassroots group within the party will add to the building pressure on the Scottish Government to listen to communities over the interests of big business.

INEOS – the UK’s second largest manufacturing company which owns the Grangemouth petro-chemicals refinery – has said that without a low-cost domestic supply of shale gas, the plant’s long term future as at risk.

Cluff Natural Resources has ‘delayed’ plans to formally submit planning applications for recover coal-gas off the Fife coast.


Shale energy: Progressing the UK debate in Glasgow: 25 Sept 2015

Hector Grant
Hector Grant


For everyone involved in and associated with the Scottish Energy Association, there is nothing more important to us than giving the energy industry the voice it needs in order to raise issues, voice concerns and engage the public in debate over key matters.

So on Friday 25 September, the Scottish Energy Association will be hosting the UK Shale Energy Conference in Glasgow to open this type of energy source up for an informed and balanced discussion.

It is essential for SEA that we constantly seek out opportunities to provide a platform for both sides of any current issue within the industry, we believe that it is down to us to take this responsibility on behalf of our members so we can fully explore and be better informed on all possible energy sources.

For us, hosting the UK Shale Energy Conference displays that we are not either for, nor against shale energy, but instead highlights that we are interested in hearing both sides on this contested issue and invite both our members and the interested public to join us to do the same.

The subject of shale energy is one which has been at the forefront of the industry for some time now, as we move forward it is vital to consider every argument, both for and against.

As the voice of the energy industry in Scotland, we simply have to open up the debate to all possible energy sources in order for us to come to an informed and fair conclusion.

This year we are facilitating the debate like never before to give everyone in attendance, as well as the public at large, the best opportunity to hear the facts from experts on both sides and make an informed choice on where they stand.

This does not only apply specifically to shale energy, but to every energy source and any issues around it. Quite simply, it is within our members best interests that we remain impartial and present them the chance to hear the facts directly.

We are proud to be in a position where we can help those on both sides of the debate present the facts properly at the UK Shale Energy Conference. This is of course open to all of our members, but also open to any members of the public interested in this subject.

For more information on how to book tickets, please visit our website.

With just a few days to go, we look forward to hearing from those both for and against shale energy in the UK. It promises to be a fascinating debate on what is an ever-prominent issue within our industry.

HECTOR GRANT is Chief Executive of the Scottish Energy Association.

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