Climate change to be considered at Ineos legal challenge to Scottish fracking ban

Scottish Parliament 170531 Friends of the Earth Scotland

Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland

The court considering a challenge to the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking has been told the policy is required to meet climate change commitments.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has been given permission to intervene in the case and has submitted evidence on the environmental impacts of fracking.

Ineos Upstream, the largest holder of UK shale licences, and Reach Coal Seam Gas are seeking to overturn the indefinite moratorium on fracking and unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland.

They say the Scottish Government policy not to support fracking applications has adversely affected their business interests and breached their human rights. They are seeking damages.

This is thought to be the first time in an environmental judicial review that a third party has been given permission to intervene.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said today:

“We are getting involved in INEOS’s judicial review of the fracking ban in order to put forward crucial climate change arguments in support of the ban that otherwise would not have been heard.

“Our intervention argues that the Scottish Government is required to ban fracking so as to urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, to meet legally binding climate targets.”

The organisation said it had made a written submission to the court providing information on EU, Scottish and UK environmental law, national and international obligations on climate change and it said key environmental issues may not have been considered in court.

A procedural hearing in the case was held today. The main hearing is due to begin at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday 8 May. It is scheduled to last four days.

Scottish fracking ban

Energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, addressing the Scottish Parliament on the policy in October 2017

The Scottish Government announced in October 2017 that the moratorium on fracking and other unconventional oil and gas developments would remain in place indefinitely. This followed a research programme and public consultation commissioned by the Scottish Government. The decision was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament three weeks later.

Mary Church said:

“We are confident that the process to ban fracking was robust and fair, and we hope that the courts will find against Ineos.

“A two-year process looked at mountains of scientific evidence that spoke of the risks of the unconventional oil and gas industry to our environment, climate and people’s health.

“There is overwhelming support for the ban from communities on the frontline of this industry, people the length and breadth of Scotland, and almost all the parties at Holyrood.

“A judicial review is very limited in terms of what it looks at, and without our intervention these huge environmental considerations would have not been heard in this legal process, despite the considerable environmental impacts of fracking.”

The organisation is being supported by the English law firm, Leigh Day. Solicitor Carol Day said:

“We are delighted the court has granted permission for FoE Scotland to intervene in this important public interest case, which has huge environmental considerations for Scotland.

“This is a landmark decision under Scottish law and illustrates the significance and potential impact of this judicial review.  We believe this is the first intervention on an environmental issue and one of only a handful to have been approved under the new judicial review rules.

“FoE Scotland has submitted strong evidence on the environmental and health impacts implications of fracking. We hope the court will take these points on board during the course of the hearing and uphold the Scottish Government’s moratorium on fracking.”

33 replies »

  1. Back to Ruth’s article: “They (INEOS) say the Scottish Government policy not to support fracking applications has adversely affected their business interests and breached their human rights. ” No nonsense here, forget that “the NPPF should be updated to emphasise the significant benefits that the production of gas from unconventional sources can play in – tackling climate change, addressing risks associated with the UK’s security of energy supply, delivering tax revenue, jobs and much needed investment in manufacturing in the UK”. (I quote from the INEOS submission to the consultation on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework.) The real concern for INEOS is revealed as their business interests and their human rights. Forget the ‘common good’, forget the interests of the planet, the environment and of humanity, forget the poor, but fight, fight with all your might for INEOS’s human rights and business interests.Sickening stuff!

    • Well it’s the first of May and perhaps Teresa’s days are equally numbered now that Amber Rudd has bowed out from the firing line? Not so much dancing around the May Poll, more a running away distancing and a frantic jostling for the inevitable prospective PM position?
      And all over the Teresa May initiated draconian targeted deportation of the windrush legacy generation?

      Interesting that with all that has gone on this year, that it was the Tory cruel discriminating policy that should get closest to bringing them down?

      Just like the Tory cruel discrimination policy that tripped them up, so it will be with fracking, that is an even bigger and more dangerous skeleton in the increasingly overcrowded Tory cupboards.

      This is todays Ian R Crane report that addresses these and also the tree culling 5g debacle.
      When trees are the most valuable of our carbon sinks in this country, to have these policies of utterly insane arboreal genocide is just another indication that this government in whatever form it takes, is the most destructive we have ever had the misfortune to endure.

      They need to go, and quickly, the sooner the better.

      ( )

      But as always

    • Ineos have no human rights as they are nothing more than a corporation, they classed as a legal “person” a legal fabrication in faxt, they are not, by definition a natural living human being like you and me, and hence they as a corporation have no human rights and no right to make profit from any transaction any more than anyone else has..
      If they claim they are a human being and have human rights they cease to be a legal “person” and will have to prove they are a human being, not only that they will have to prove they are a human being with rights to claim human rights in England and Scotland. That cannot be proved.
      It’s a fabrication meant to fool us into accepting the corporation as a putative human being.
      They are not and therefore have no human rights, and most certainly no right to claim profit or revenue from any speculative transaction, no one does.
      That speculation is just normal risk taking and it is for the the buyer to beware, there is and can be no guarantee of profit or indeed of loss, both are risks and should they suffer loss then that is nothing more than standard risk management acceptance.
      In other words.

    • Under civil law you can only claim for something tangible that you have lost; so for example if you agree to buy a TV, send your money and the TV does not arrive, you can claim for the money you paid and any postage.

      INEOS have only ‘lost’ their licence fee, so that’s all they can claim for. You cannot plant a tree and then go and buy a mansion based on the fact that someone told you it might have golden apples!

  2. Well iaith-have INEOS not made an investment to secure and operate the licences in Scotland? Have they previously not made other large investments within the Scottish economy?

    These investments feed back significantly into the income to pay for those “common good” items you want.

    The key question will be whether INEOS having made an investment require compensation when the decision by the Scottish Government has made that investment worthless. Ironically, it is probably in the interests of Scotland that compensation is determined, otherwise INEOS are just as likely to decide that they will be disinclined to make further investments into the Scottish economy. They are a global company, they have the ability to make those choices. Scotland can make the choice that it wants to produce an unfriendly environment for industry, to placate the Greens and maintain a working majority for the SNP, but I suspect the potential consequences of that for the Scottish population as a whole will be “sickening stuff.”

  3. There was a world where playing servant to old style industrial plutocrats paid off, for some people, but I think Scotland is looking to the future now, not the past.

  4. “Looking to the future”.

    Yes, high taxes for those earning a reasonable wage, booze running across the border, and an economy on the constant verge of recession!

    Not much reason for those who are mobile to stay-individuals or companies. I thought that was the long term problem for Scotland?

  5. Tales from Texas – just to help you get thoughts into some kind of perspective. It’s an interesting long read and deals with the history of O&G over there, the shale well developments and the impacts that go along with all that. Then there’s the super-wealth creation of an O&G rich State. But as I’ve said before you could fit England’s land area five times into Texas. They have a lot of space to mess with (that England doesn’t have), and they have a tradition in the States of a mindset that accepts treating their landscape like a pincushion.

  6. You seem to have a burning desire to shoot yourself, and your anti friends in the foot PhilipP!

    This section is about Scotland!

    (Texas) “have a lot of space to mess with”-so does Scotland PhilipP!! Although there is a little consideration as to where the resource being sought might exist-but that doesn’t seem to worry you either!

    Not sure whether it is a case of under-cover or over there!

    • No cherry picking please – read the rest Martin. Particularly about how their kind of success breeds a distorted wealth for the State. It’s really for the few at the top and it makes for a legacy of all kinds of issues, not to mention the boom bust cycles. I know you’d like to dismiss it out of hand so others won’t bother reading it but I’m guessing a few will at least.

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