Joan McAlpine has welcomed a moratorium on unconventional onshore oil and gas extraction in Scotland.
The South of Scotland MSP said it would be welcome news for villagers in Canonbie, with whom she has campaigned to prevent coalbed methane extraction around
Scotland’s Energy Minister announced today (Wednesday) that no more planning consents for unconventional onshore oil and gas wells will be granted.
The Scottish Government will also carry out a Public Health Impact Assessment and full public consultation to ensure the voices of communities across Scotland are heard on the issue.
Earlier this week the majority of Scottish Labour MPs failed to vote for a moratorium on fracking in the House of Commons, despite Jim Murphy stating his supposed opposition to the technology at the weekend. Every SNP MP voted in favour of a UK-wide moratorium.
Commenting Ms McAlpine said:
“Today’s statement brings welcome clarity and stands in stark contrast to Labour’s chaotic approach to fracking. This week saw Jim Murphy announce his party’s supposed opposition to fracking before his MPs failed to support a moratorium in the House of Commons.
“The SNP Government has acted where Labour has failed nationally and locally. Their local councillors did not speak up for the Canonbie villagers and attacked me when I asked for a council review into the circumstances surrounding the granting of planning permission for boreholes, a matter now being considered by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
“I particularly welcome news that the Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod will issue an instruction to SEPA to desist from granting any further CAR licences. This is something I called for in advance of the statement. These licenses, issued by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, are required for every borehole. A moratorium on them was the only way to stop drilling in Canonbie, where council planning permission has already been given and an exploration licence already awarded by the UK government.
“Can I take this opportunity to congratulate Bill and Loraine Frew and the Canonbie Residents Against Coal Developments who have campaigned tirelessly on this issue. Their efforts were rewarded this week.