It’s a trap



MSPs in Holyrood today debated the motion S5M-00226 Taking Scotland Forward – Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform put forward by  Roseanna Cunningham the MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire.

That the Parliament agrees that Scotland’s stunning natural environment is one of its most precious assets; recognises that wise and productive use of the country’s natural capital is at the heart of a strong, sustainable, low-carbon economy; believes that both its ambition and its record make Scotland a world leader on climate change, and notes that empowering communities by reforming the way that land is owned and managed is vital to creating a fairer Scotland.

As you are hopefully aware we are lucky enough in Scotland that there is a moratorium on fracking, while the scientific case for or against is determined.  And if you know anything about me you’ll know that I am a tad anti-fracking, I refer you to here, here and here.  If at any time I even considered for a second that the SNP was pro-fracking I would be cutting up my membership card and joining the Greens.

I DO NOT WANT FRACKING TO TAKE PLACE – not in Scotland, not in the UK, not anywhere.

So why aren’t I keen for an outright ban?

Until the scientific evidence is in place that proves it is unsafe (yes, I know it’s unsafe) BUT ALSO that industry cannot guarantee that they can ameliorate any problems, any ban imposed can be fought through the courts. The final say so could be with the UK Minister not the Holyrood one.

[This is the point where I do my usual thing and link to the excellent Q&A session with an environmental lawyer on #TalkingMince. READ IT, because I will keep posting it until I am sure everyone in Scotland has.]

For the foreseeable future Scotland is safe, unlike the poor bastards in North Yorkshire.  And why is that? Because of the moratorium.  And it’s working, Ineos has moved its fracking operation from Scotland to England. Don’t forget the bastard Tories (especially Osborne) are hot for fracking.

Of course if we were independent, that would be different, but we are not; we are still considered similar to a large County Council and look what is happening to Lancashire, their elected members being over-ruled.

The Tories cannot wait to for noxious chemicals to be pumped at pressure underground risking our water supply for a few extra pounds of profit; they even went back on their “promise” to stay clear of National Parks – like that was a surprise.

Even the Green’s Lothian MSP Andy Wightman who was talking about a ban in the run up to the election only put forward an amendment that

“[The Scottish Parliament] believes that fracking and other forms of unconventional gas extraction are incompatible with Scotland’s low-carbon ambitions”.

However Labour’s Claudia Beamish MSP for South Scotland put forward

“As an amendment to , after ‘Parliament’ insert ‘recognises that, to meet Scotland’s climate change goals and protect the environment, there must be an outright ban on fracking in Scotland’.

Only in February last year she said (my highlight):

“Scottish Labour would ensure environmental and health safeguards are in place by introducing a triple-lock system.

This involves:

* A local referendum before final planning approval is given;
* Halting any fracking in Scotland until the lessons of fracking in the rest of the UK are learned;
* A comprehensive review of the baseline conditions before any planning application is granted

All credit to GAPonsenby for finding the quote, he and PeterABell have both done excellent articles on the subject today here and here)

So, does this mean Scotland has banned fracking? No. The Parliament has recognised there should be an outright ban, but the Scottish Government has not imposed one.

It does mean that there may be a political element IF the fracking companies wish to take ScotGov to court in future over a fracking ban. A bit like when Labour and the Herald claimed credit for the CalMac decision when in fact it was made on purely commercial reasons.

As to why a Labour MSP has changed their mind as to the safest way to keep fracking out of Scotland I don’t know. I cannot imagine a head on battle with Westminster is in their best interests long-term. But then SLab never really do take on Westminster do they? They roll over ever time.

It would seem petty to assume that it was done to “point score” over the SNP but then I’ve never denied I’m not petty.


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