Falkirk West MSP applauds formal ban on fracking

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed news that the Scottish Government will not allow any fracking to take place in Scotland.

The original decision to impose a moratorium on fracking took place amid strident protest action across the country.
The original decision to impose a moratorium on fracking took place amid strident protest action across the country.

As reported in Falkirk Herald earlier this week energy minister Paul Wheelhouse has confirmed no licences will be issued for unconventional oil and gas developments north of the Border.

The decision was announced after what’s been described as a comprehensive period of evidence gathering and consultation, including environmental and business assessments.

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Mr Matheson said the decision would be welcomed in Falkirk district, where he says there has been “considerable” concern about the potential impact of fracking activities.

The move effectively formallses the Scottish Government’s earlier moratorium on fracking, which was followed by an unsuccessful court challenge by Ineos, which runs the Grangemouth refinery.

However the case highlighted the fact that the moratorium was not the same as “a ban”.

Mr Matheson said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has put the interests of our communities and the environment first with a policy that will also help to maintain Scotland’s reputation as a global leader in the fight against climate change.

“By contrast, the Tories are intent on fracking beneath people’s homes in England, ignoring significant public opposition and showing no concern for the potential impact on residents’ health or the environment.

“This finalised policy shows the SNP is serious about meeting Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets and building a better, greener country for the next generation.

“It’s an important decision in our journey towards the decarbonisation of our economy – an energy transition that, while challenging, has the potential to bring significant economic opportunities to businesses in Falkirk district and across Scotland.”

However in 2017 Ineos shale operations director Tom Pickering earlier said the Scottish Government’s moratorium decision “beggared belief”.

He said it had turned its back on “a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance”, and predicted large numbers of Scottish workers would leave the country to seek work as “the North Sea oil and gas industry continues to decline”.

Ineos’ attempts to persuade local communities that fracking would bring benefits were often badly received - Mr Pickering and his colleagues were harangued and abused at some “public engagement” meetings.