South Scotland MSPs Colin Smyth and Claudia Beamish have stepped up the pressure on the Scottish Government to introduce a ban on fracking.
The local MSPs joined with anti-fracking groups at a protest outside the Scottish Parliament to mark the final day of the Scottish Government’s consultation on fracking and to hand over a petition to the Scottish Government signed by 40,000 signatures against fracking.
Meanwhile, a member’s bill being introduced in the Scottish Parliament by Claudia Beamish and signed by Colin Smyth which would ban fracking in Scotland has been met with overwhelming public support.
A public consultation by MSP Claudia Beamish found that 87 per cent of respondents were in favour of a ban, with more than 1,000 people responding to the consultation – one of the highest response rates in Scottish Parliament history to a member’s bill proposal.
The Labour MSP will now press ahead with the Final Proposal for her Member’s Bill to change the law and ban on shore fracking outright in Scotland.
Last year the Scottish Parliament backed a Scottish Labour motion calling for the controversial practice to be outlawed.
The SNP has refused to rule out allowing fracking in Scotland, and have only introduced a temporary moratorium, despite widespread public opposition and health and safety fears.
Colin Smyth MSP said,
“It was good to meet so many protestors from the South of Scotland which shows the passion this issue generates. The failure of the Scottish Government to ban fracking and only introduce a temporary moratorium means communities like Canonbie, where there are coalbed methane deposits, live in fear that coalbed methane extraction processes could take place unless we see a ban.
“There is no doubt that an overwhelming majority do not want fracking in Scotland. People don’t want to see new fossil fuels as we move towards a low carbon economy and many people are concerned about the potential health implications of unconventional oil and gas extraction”.
“The Scottish Government need to listen to the views of local people, stop their dithering and vote for a ban. If they don’t introduce legislation to deliver a ban, then Claudia Beamish’s Members Bill will deliver that ban. Its time SNP and Tory MSPs in the South of Scotland to tell the public where they stand on that bill.”
“This is about Scotland’s future, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the condition we leave our planet in for our children and our grandchildren and they can’t keep ducking the issue.”
Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change, said:
“The rally outside Parliament had a fantastic response from across the country, sending a strong message to the Scottish Government once again that we do need fracking.
It was brilliant to see campaigners from the South of Scotland at the rally chanting loud and proud with banners and t-shirts. I commend the community groups, volunteers and activists that are dedicating their time and energy to protesting fracking and protecting our environment.
“The SNP track record on fracking is pitiful – full of abstentions, delays, and uncertainty. While we cannot rely on the SNP to do the right thing for our environment, our communities, our jobs, and our future – my member’s bill to ban fracking will keep driving forward until we deliver that ban.”