Council urges Fifers to fight against fracking

© Steven BrownCouncillor Lesley Laird overlooking the Firth of Forth, which energy firms had considered using as a location for controversial UCG (Underground Coal Gasification).
Councillor Lesley Laird overlooking the Firth of Forth, which energy firms had considered using as a location for controversial UCG (Underground Coal Gasification).

Fife Council is urging Fifers to take part in the Scottish Government’s fracking consultation.

Depute leader Lesley Laird is urging them to air their views on whether the controversial unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction, including fracking, should be allowed in the country.

“Fife is one of the areas that could be most impacted by unconventional energy extraction, and we have been vocal in our opposition to UOG exploitation,” she said.

Fife Council passed a motion back in May last year opposing all fracking and any unconventional gas extraction in Fife.

“We absolutely welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has since taken on board Fife’s views and supported our position by imposing an outright ban on underground coal gasification, which is one form of UOG extraction.

“However, at this time, while the present moratorium on fracking remains in place, we are waiting to hear if this too will be banned.

“Following repeated requests request from myself and the council to Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, Fife’s communities are finally being given the opportunity to engage in the Scottish Government’s review of unconventional energy and policy making.

“I am strongly urging local people to make their voices heard to ensure that there is genuine dialogue as part of this much needed debate,” she said.

The depute leader added: “We want to make the best decisions possible for the people living and working around the Firth of Forth, preserve the local environment and support local democracy.

“We want to make sure that the views of local people are firmly taken on board.

“It is vital that elected representatives, communities, businesses and local interest groups put their views across as part of this consultation to help shape the future of their local area.”

A moratorium on UOG exploration and extraction, which includes hydraulic fracturing — more commonly known as fracking — has been in place since January 2015.

Since then, the government has been compiling evidence to put before the public before deciding whether or not a full ban should be put in place.

The public consultation will run until May 31 via www.talkingfracking.scot/

In addition, a Private Members Bill, which is separate from the Scottish Government’s consultation process and which seeks to ban fracking outright, has been proposed by MSP Claudia Beamish.

The public has until Friday February 17 to make comment on that bill via www.frackingbanbill.com.

Breaking