Live updates: Scottish parliament votes against fracking

Roseanna Cunningham - SNP - Perthshire South and Kinross-shire

The Scottish Parliament is discussing fracking in a debate on environment and land reform.

The SNP’s environment and climate change secretary Roseanna Cunninngham (left) opens the debate. Her party introduced a moratorium on fracking last year during a research and public consultation programme. Scottish Labour and the Greens have tabled amendments opposing fracking. 

Catch up with live updates here or follow the debate on Scottish Parliament TV

 Meeting closes




Conservative amendment: yes 30, no 93. Not passed.

Labour amendment calling for a ban on fracking: yes 32  no 29, abstentions 62. Agreed

Green amendment opposing fracking: yes 32, no 30, abstentions 61. Agreed

SNP motion as amended by Labour amendment: Yes 32, no 30, abstentions 61. Agreed

Debate ends


The debate ends.

SNP will abstain on fracking ban amendments


Paul Wheelhouse

Paul Wheelhouse

Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, says the SNP will abstain on amendments calling for a fracking ban.

He says only the SNP has promised to make a decision on fracking based on evidence and public opinion.

In response to a question he says research on underground coal gasification is expected to be ready this summer. He says the research on fracking is also due to be completed in the summer and will be published.

The public consultation will focus on the issues that matter to communities, he says. The people of Scotland will have the benefit of the most substantial body of scientific evidence when the final decision is made.

He repeats that there will be no fracking in Scotland until it is proved not to be a risk to the environment and public health.

He encourages MSPs to support the government motion and reject opposition amendments

Peter Chapman SNP

Peter Chapman

Vital to go forward on fracking – Conservatives


Peter Chapman says Labour has done its best to trash fracking in the debate. Labour would rather import gas than grow the economy and create jobs.

Colin Smyth asks why a Conservative opposed fracking in his constituency. Mr Chapman says it is vital that the government should go forward in getting shale gas out of the ground.

There is a 50 year history of extracting oil, he says. He has confidence in the technique, which he says would bring jobs for unemployed North Sea oil workers.

Mr Chapman quotes Professor Younger: ‘It would be a flight from reason to continue with the SNP maybe yes, maybe no approach’.

Labour begins its closing speech


Labour’s David Stewart concentrates on land reform and does not refer to fracking.

Mark Ruskell MSP

Mark Ruskell

“Community voices needs to be heard loud and clear on fracking”


Mark Ruskell (Green) tells the parliament:

“It is crystal clear that there is a majority of MSPs in this chamber that want a ban on fracking.

“The voice of communities across Scotland need to be heard loud and clear”

The urges members to be bold in voting for a ban on fracking and turning a vision for a sustainable Scotland into reality.

Closing speeches


Mark Ruskell (Green) begins the closing speeches in the Scottish Parliament debate

No reference to fracking in Lib Dem amendment


The Scottish Lib Dem spokesperson for rural affairs Mike Rumbles introduces his amendment, which has no reference to fracking. It is not selected for debate.

Lib Dem amendment


Claire Baker

Claire Baker

“Fracking will not help meet climate change ambitions”


Labour’s Claire Baker says she has no confidence in fracking technology.

“It will not help us meet our climate change ambitions”.

She says despite the disruption to communities and risks to the environment there is no guarantee that it would lead to a supply of gas.

Stewart Stevenson - Banffshire and Buchan Caost

Stewart Stevenson

“Outright ban would bring fracking forward”


The SNP’s Stewart Stevenson says he will not be supporting amendments calling for a ban on fracking.

He says a ban would only bring fracking forward. He says the Scottish Government must be able to defend any action on fracking. Without this the companies will challenge a ban, he says.

Alexander Burnett

Alexander Burnett

Conservative Energy spokesman silent on fracking


The Conservative’s energy spokesman, Alexander Burnett, delivering his maiden speech makes no reference to fracking.

Scotland needs straight answers on fracking – Elaine Smith


Elaine Smith MSP

Elaine Smith

Elaine Smith, Labour Central Scotland, tells the parliament how shocked she was to hear about Blackpool’s earthquakes in 2011 caused by fracking carried out by Cuadrilla.

As well as earthquakes, she says fracking could affect water quality and food production.

Shale gas also has greater carbon emissions than conventional gas, she says, and could be as bad as coal.

Elaine Smith asks why a motion calling for a ban on fracking did not reach the SNP national conference. This raises questions about the view of the governing party in Scotland, she says.

Scotland needs straight answers on fracking, she says.

“We have the devolved powers to ban fracking. All that is missing is the will. Scottish Labour is not sceptical. No ifs, not buts, no fracking.”

Graeme Day

Graeme Dey

Ban would be illegal – SNP


Graeme Dey, SNP member for Angus South refers to a Friends of the Earth briefing, which he says argued that the Scottish Government could face legal action if it introduced an outright ban on fracking before the research and public consultation were completed.

Opposition to fracking is a great pity – Conservatives


John ScottMSP

John Scott

Fracking is the way forward for the Scottish economy, the Conservative John Scott says. There could be great benefits, he adds. He described Labour’s opposition as “a great pity”.

He urges the SNP to be brave and practical.

“We should grasp the opportunity with both hands”

He says the pioneering work has been done. We must move away from the mindset that anything new is risky, he adds.

“We must restore the can-do attitude that Scotland was known for.”

Angus McDonald

Angus McDonald

Labour call for ban is cynical – SNP


The SNP’s Angus McDonald (Falkirk) says most of his party’s colleagues are sceptical on fracking. He repeats the plans for research and consultation.

“Unless it can be proven beyond there is no risk to health or the environment there will be no fracking. You can’t get clearer than that.”

He describes Labour’s proposed ban as cynical and headline-grabbing.

Andy Whightman - Green - Lothain

Andy Wightman

Greens say unconventional gas is incompatible with low carbon ambitions


The Green’s Andy Wightman, introduces his party’s amendment

Greens amendment

Green Party amendment

Labour calls for a ban on fracking


Labour motion

Labour amendment

Claudia Beamish MSP - Labour - South of Scotland

Claudia Beamish

Labour’s Claudia Beamish says:

“We must say no to fracking. No ifs, no buts, no fracking”.

“Fracking is just another fossil fuel and we don’t need it.”

If the SNP votes against Labour’s amendment will show it is not against fracking”.

Only an outright ban will show the parliament where the SNP stands, she says.

SNP must make up its mind on fracking – Conservatives


Scottish Conservative Maurice Golden says opponents on fracking are out of step with the scientific evidence and with what business needs.

“How you can look the unemployed workers in the eye while refusing them a new job is beyond me.”

To the SNP, he says:

“You must make up your mind on fracking and stop blocking an industry with the potential to create jobs”

Of course fracking must be subject to consent and the safest regulatory regime in the world, he says. But he adds:

It is worse to have supertankers supplying Grangemouth when it could be supplied from Scotland.

Fracking will support jobs and the economy: Conservatives


Conservative amendment

Conservative amendment

Maurice Golden - Conservative - West  Scotland

Maurice Golden

Scottish Conservative Maurice Golden says the Scottish Government must allow fracking to support jobs and the economy.

We need a mixture of energy generation going forward, he said. But we must meet the needs of this generation.

Business minister leads on fracking


Roseanna Cunningham says the Minister of Business, Innovation and Energy leads on fracking and will address it in his closing speech.

Roseanna Cunningham opens the debate


SNP motion

SNP motion

Roseanna Cunningham - SNP - Perthshire South and Kinross-shire

Roseanna Cunningham

Roseanna Cunningham says the environment is a public good that we need to protect and grow.

“This government is deeply sceptical about fracking.”

This was why, she says, the government has put in place a moratorium while research and public consultation takes place.

“A decision on fracking in Scotland will be based on the evidence and public opinion.”

Read the Official Record of the debate here

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1 reply »

  1. Cool. None binding and the SNP government abstain, so just a chance to see where everyone is at.

    Labour amendment calling for a ban on fracking: yes 32 no 29, abstentions 62. Agreed

    32 to 29.. So close, and with so little work done by Ineos so far, it is all to play for. 62 abstain, and they’re the ones in government… Who can really see this holding up once things start to get moving.

    We should also consider the protectionism aspect playing out for the North Sea. There are several politicians who have openly said they are against Scottish fracking to help support the North Sea O&G sector (which no doubt will use more fracking of conventional reservoirs in the future, likely with those same politicians support).

    All just fun and games.

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