Labour and SNP need enlightening when it comes to ban on Scottish fracking

I WAS amazed and very distressed to read in today's Scotsman that the Labour Party in Scotland are trying to outdo the SNP in banning fracking (4 March). This is madness. The SNP had no rational argument for imposing a two-year moratorium on fracking in the first place. The report commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2014 on Unconventional Oil and Gas prepared by an 'Independent Expert Scientific Panel' made clear that there was no reason fracking should not take place.

There is no possibility of fracking being imposed on communities as we have in place the necessary planning laws and regulations and all activities are overseen by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. The protesters against fracking, who spring up everywhere, either have not read the report or don’t understand the science and engineering involved.

It makes me very sad that politicians who claim to represent the interests of the people are doing everything in their power to kill off the onshore oil and gas sector which could provide many jobs (and apprentices), some of whom could have been transferred from the North East offshore oil and gas sector.

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It is time politicians listened to, and acted on, professional advice from engineers and scientists or the country will return to being governed on a similar basis to that of pre-Enlightenment times. David Hume and Adam Smith will be turning in their graves at the inability of politicians to accept scientific advice and apply rational analysis to the many issues we face today.

C Scott,

Mortonhall Road, Edinburgh

A good deal of political cant was expressed by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in Holyrood over hydraulic fracturing – or fracking (The Scotsman, 4 March).

In a pre-election atmosphere it is understandable that she wants to hold First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to account. But it is doubtful if she has fully thought through the implications of identifying her party with opposition to the technology.

What if an independent assessment of the scientific evidence shows that it will cause no major environmental threat? What if the major player at Grangemouth(Ineos) asserts that fracking facilities in central Scotland are essential for the future viability of the plant? What if the major trade unions there accept that view and are determined to put up a sustained fight for their members’ jobs?

It could, of course, lead to a re-run of the 2013 drama when sensitive negotiations between the plant’s owner, Jim Ratcliffe, then-First Minister Alex Salmond and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, produced a deal that helped secure Scotland’s industrial base. It was realpolitik – people of experience prepared to compromise for the wider good.

Let’s hope both Ms Dugdale and the First Minister are prepared to listen to the workers at Grangemouth and the local communities and not rush into entrenched positions. Maintaining Scotland’s industrial sinews is more important than an intemperate parliamentary joust in an election campaign, and their mettle will be tested both before and after May’s poll.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court, Glenrothes