Dumfries and Galloway council votes against future fracking

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A RESOUNDING no to fracking in Dumfries and Galloway has been given by the council.

A motion by councillor Archie Dryburgh, Annandale East and Eskdale, to oppose unconventional oil and gas extraction, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was passed before the election two weeks ago.

The vote was split evenly 8-8 after an amendment was put forward but councillor Colin Smyth, chairman of the economy, environment and infrastructure committee, cast his deciding vote in favour of councillor Dryburgh's motion.

Councillor Dryburgh told community councillors in Canonbie that the motion was later passed by the full council.

Canonbie may become the site of coalbed methane extraction after 20 wells and a gas compressor station were given planning permission by the council.

The Scottish government imposed a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas extraction development in January 2015.

This has prevented hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas and coalbed methane extraction from taking place. The government also ensured no further licences were issued by the UK government for Scottish sites.

In January this year it published a consultation Talking Fracking - A Consultation on Unconventional Oil and Gas and responses must be in by May 31. It contains 10 specific questions.

The report to the council committee said: "This consultation is of relevance to Dumfries and Galloway because there are coalbed methane deposits around Canonbie and are specifically mentioned in the consultation document."

Compared with most consultations, the government has made it clear that the consultation "does not set out or advocate a preferred government position or policy". It wants different perspectives to be put forward.

Responses will be independently analysed and the parliament will decide by the end of this year whether unconventional oil and gas extraction will have a role in Scotland's energy mix.

The challenges and risks posed by this practice include disturbance to communities, potential health risk, as yet unproven, a neutral impact on domestic energy costs, the need for strong, co-ordinated regulation and an increase in greenhouse gases.

The opportunities and safeguards include rigorous and environmental regulations already in place, potential for community benefit schemes, job creation and energy security.

Councillor Dryburgh told the E&L Advertiser that the officer's report, which was presented to the economy, environment and infrastructure committee, had suggested 10 different conditions.

He said: "I thought there is too much nonsense going on and misunderstanding as well as a lack of understanding.

"So I suggested a motion that the council put forward that there should be no fracking in Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland.

"That motion was seconded (by councillor Ronnie Ogilvie) and supported at the full council meeting."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 9:04AM
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