Opponents of fracking have welcomed yesterday’s announcement giving responsibility for onshore oil and gas to the Scottish government.
The Smith Commission, established after the Scottish referendum, decided that the licensing of onshore oil and gas extraction in Scotland and responsibility for mineral access rights should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Offshore oil and gas extraction, as well as taxation of oil and gas receipts, remains the responsibility of the Westminster government.
WWF Scotland urged ministers to use the new powers to stop fracking and other unconventional gas developments in Scotland. Director Lang Banks said:
“We call on the Scottish government to make use of its new powers to protect communities and our climate by keeping these fossil fuels in the ground and unburned.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said:
“While we are clear that the Scottish Government could stop the roll out of unconventional gas and fracking with existing powers these changes would leave them with absolutely no excuse not to take tough action against this dirty industry.
“The Scottish Government should instead continue its transformation of our energy system by focusing on renewables, living up to our world leading climate commitments in doing so.”
The Scottish Greens said the new powers placed a clear expectation on the Scottish Government to oppose destructive industries like fracking. Greens would be vocal in calling for a complete halt, and the Scottish Goverment will have to take a clearer stance, they said:
Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green Party MSP, added:
“There will now be no hiding room on the troubling issue of fracking. Scotland will look to its own government to protect communities from this unwanted and destructive new wave of fossil fuel extraction.”
Neil Findlay MSP, a candidate for the Scottish Labour leadership, said if elected he would give communities the power to say no to fracking if they wanted to.