My fifth reply from an MSP on the FoE Scotland Please support the call to block fracking in Scotland email comes from Scottish Conservative’s Gavin Brown.
Thank you for your recent email regarding fracking.
The Scottish Conservatives are dedicated to achieving a balanced energy mix to meet the country’s needs and we believe unconventional gas extraction has a significant role to play in this.
Whereas ten years ago the UK was a net exporter of gas, today it has to import 10 billion cubic metres per year. Our shale gas reserves could drive down domestic and industrial gas prices and help the country to be less at the mercy of volatile foreign markets and often unstable foreign governments.
I note that the UK government’s recent consultation generated a substantial degree of opposition, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) public opinion tracker provides a more accurate gauge of views with only 24% fully opposing fracking and half neither supporting nor opposing it as of August 2014.
The SNP Government’s recent criticism of Westminster’s approach to fracking and their call for additional powers to Scotland is no more than political posturing. Planning is already under the Scottish Government’s control and so fracking can only go ahead with their agreement. The licensing regime for unconventional gas extraction is, and will remain, rigorous requiring input from the DECC, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), planning authorities and in some instances the Coal Authority.
I am aware of some local homeowners’ concerns about fracking under or near to their properties, in particular the proposed right to drill to depths of 300 metres under private land without negotiating a right of access has been contentious. However, gas, water and electricity companies already have similar rights and there is no evidence of any harm that would be caused by fracking if properly regulated.
Safety is a top priority for the Government and it is worth noting that the UK has over 50 years of experience in regulating the onshore oil and gas industry. This experience is critical in avoiding risks such as the contamination of water supplies.
Overall, I am confident that fracking will continue to be conducted safely, responsibly and with local interests in mind. I believe it will benefit the country in terms of energy security, economic growth and jobs creation.
GAVIN BROWN MSP
So, a heartfelt reply from a the Tory MSP or a cut and paste standard response which is identical in content to Block Fracking in Scotland Response 3? The latter, of course the latter. It would however be hypocritical of me to make an issue of this as I did fill out a web form on the FoE Scotland website which sent the same standard text to each of the MPs and MSPs in my constituency.
It seems that the Conservatives think that local homeowners’ concerns relating to the drilling under their homes can be rested by the knowledge that gas, water and electricity companies already have their pipes and cables about 300m under the ground, so what’s the problem?
Might it be something to do with the compound of toxic chemicals to be pumped at high pressure into rocks beneath the houses (in order to crack the rocks to release gas)?
Might it be something to do with the risk of tremors and subsistence from cracking these rocks and therefore deteriorating the integrity of the ground below the houses?
Might it be the risk of contamination of not only the ground under these homes but the water supply which occupies the similar space below the homes?
It is however a matter of fact that SNP do control planning and therefore can halt any fracking in this country, however this is a devolved power which could easily be rolled back and what we need is a wholesalechange of attitude towards fracking. I would however implore any of the new SNP members to put pressure on your party to knock this on the head before the drills start whirring.
Anti-fracking response: 1 Pro-fracking responses: 4 sigh