Scottish Greens urges Nicola Sturgeon to abandon fracking study

Patrick Harvie. Picture:  Colin Hattersley
Patrick Harvie. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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GREENS co-leader Patrick Harvie has challenged the Scottish Government to ditch its research programme into fracking in Scotland and implement an outright ban.

He also said a Green MSP in each of the eight parliamentary regions of Scotland would see “better, bolder” ­opposition.

The comments came during his keynote address to the party conference in Edinburgh yesterday.

Nicola Sturgeon came under pressure over fracking last week when Labour pledged to ban the practice going into May’s election.

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie yesterday pledged to campaign for a ban – despite his party members voting to lift the current moratorium imposed by SNP ministers.

This will remain in place until analysis and research is finalised next year. Sturgeon said she was “highly sceptical” about the process.

Harvie said: “Greens are here to give absolute crystal clarity and it’s a crystal clarity that we’re not getting from the SNP either.

“If Nicola Sturgeon is to be taken seriously on what she said on Thursday – it ‘ain’t going to happen’ – then why on earth do we need to spend time and money researching the implications of going ahead with these technologies or how to clean up the mess afterwards?

“If the SNP are clear about the idea that fracking ain’t going to happen in Scotland I challenge them now: cancel that programme of consultation and research, put the money into something worthwhile instead and have an immediate, permanent full ban on fracking and all unconventional gas.”

Fracking is a means of extracting natural gas from underground rocks through “hydraulic fracturing” – effectively cracking them – which allows methane and other hydrocarbons to escape and be collected.

It has prompted concern over earthquakes and water contamination, but a Scottish Government report last year said it was safe.