WORLD EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News
A majority of residents living around the giant petro-chemical processing plant at Grangemouth, near Falkirk and in other communities which are located above underground reserves of shale gas in Scotland, are firmly in favour of ‘fracking’.
Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – is the process by which deep underground shale-bearing rocks are split open (just as a lumberjack would split open a log).
While the SNP-controlled Scottish Government’s own independent scientific study concluded that shale exploration could be safely carried out in Scotland, the party internally deep split over the issue.
At the same time, the anti-shale pressure groups regularly publish opinion polls showing a majority of people are opposed to developing the shale gas industry.
However, private polling carried out for INEOS, which owns the Grangemouth plant and which has obtained several petroleum exploration licences around this plant and across the Central Belt from the UK Government shows the exact opposite.
A source close to senior INEOS management told Scottish Energy News: “In every opinion poll we run, it’s a two-thirds ‘yes’ to one-third against exploring for shale.
“And it’s the same in the ballot boxes we ask people to cast their vote – anonymously – after we hold information and discussions with local communities.
“In fact, some of them also ask us: ‘What’re you waiting for?’ and ‘Why don’t you just get on with it?’”
The reason that INEOS can’t ‘just get on with it’ is because last year the Scottish Government imposed a ‘temporary’ ban on any and all shale gas exploration planning applications to local authorities, which it is empowered to do under Scotland Act ‘home rule’ powers.
It is also the legislative ‘hammer’ by which the SNP government has banned any new nuclear power stations being built in Scotland.
English local authorities have no such power to bar shale gas planning applications and must accept and consider each application on its own merits in compliance the general planning regulations.
The SNP government’s second independent scientific review of evidence on public safety and environmental compliance is still ongoing and is expected to be published early next year – around the same time as the Scot-Govt publishes its new ‘holistic’ Scottish Energy Strategy.
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