Assurances given on fracking?

In a new twist on the fracking moratorium, the Scottish Government has admitted the First Minister held talks with Ineos on the same day, and even roughly the same time, energy minister Fergus Ewing announced a moratorium on granting planning permission for unconventional oil and gas developments.

In January, the firm argued fracking was safe and said delays risked the collapse of UK manufacturing, but following Mr Ewing’s announcement it appeared to welcome the move saying it “understood the importance of consultation… We welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to manage an evidence-based approach.”

The campaign group Frack Off has questioned if this u-turn was based on private assurances by Nicola Sturgeon that its interests were unlikely to be affected. It will be several years before Ineos will be ready to exploit the reserves they hold licences for, and as we recently reported, the consultation has been kicked into the post 2016 election long grass.

Ed Pybus, spokesman for Frack Off Scotland, said: “Why was the First Minister meeting with these people and not someone further down the tree? What promises were made in exchange for their public support for the moratorium? I fear that local communities are being stitched up by backroom deals.”

Meanwhile the independent health group Medact has examined the available scientific evidence on fracking health impacts and have identified:

•Potential health hazards associated with air pollution and water contamination: these include toxins that are linked to increased risks of cancer, birth defects and lung disease;
•Negative health impacts associated with noise, traffic, spoilage of the natural environment, and local social and economic disruption.
•The indirect effects of climate change produced by greenhouse gas emissions.

They conclude that the risks and serious nature of the hazards associated with fracking, coupled with the concerns and uncertainties about the regulatory system, indicate that shale gas development should be halted until a more detailed health and environmental impact assessment is undertaken.

More evidence that unconventional gas is the wrong energy approach for Scotland.

  • Posted in: Gas

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