Support shown for anti-fracking bill
SCOTTISH Labour is pushing ahead with its bill to ban fracking after a public consultation.
The member's bill was proposed by South of Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish last November and the consultation has shown that there is strong support for a law to ban the practice.
There is strong opposition to unconventional gas extraction around Canonbie where up to 20 test wells have been drilled and a gas compression station is planned.
Ms Beamish, Labour's environment and climate change spokeswoman, said: "The urgent need to tackle climate change and say no to new fossil fuels is behind my proposal to legislate against fracking.
"The science and evidence is clear; we don’t need another fossil fuel and we need to transition to clean energy. This is about the kind of Scotland we want to leave our grandchildren.
"We also need to ban fracking to protect communities from the impacts, including drilling under people's houses, air and water pollution, wider threats to our health and heavy transport on rural roads. There are also serious concerns for our environment and biodiversity."
More than 1,000 responses to the consultation were received, with 87 per cent supportive of a ban. Ms Beamish will now push ahead with a final proposal for her member's bill.
Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns, said: "It's great news, although not very surprising, that Claudia Beamish has received such a positive response to her Holyrood consultation on a law to ban fracking and will press ahead with her member's bill.
"The risks of fracking are clear and so are the grounds for banning it in the context of the climate crisis.
"While the moratorium imposed by the Scottish government has halted the immediate threat, ultimately a legislative ban on fracking is necessary to end uncertainty for communities on the frontline of this dirty industry and send a clear signal that fossil fuels have no place in our energy future.
"We urge MSPs and parties to get behind this bill and work together to protect the environment and remove the threat of fracking from Scottish communities."
The proposal for a private member's bill to ban onshore unconventional oil and gas, including shale gas fracking and coalbed methane, was lodged by Ms Beamish last November and the consultation ran until February 17.
Last June the parliament voted to ban fracking and other forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction, with Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs voting together to defeat the Conservatives who opposed this move and the SNP who abstained.
The motion was non-binding on the government but it has had a moratorium on onshore oil and gas extraction in place since January 2015 and is currently running a public consultation Talking Fracking before coming to a decision on the future of the industry by the end of 2017