Labour MSP Claire Baker has welcomed the news that Fife Council is backing her calls to close the UCG loophole in the Scottish Government’s fracking moratorium.
The MSP revealed the fact that underground coal gasification was not included in the Scottish Government’s moratorium last January and has been campaigning to have it closed since.
She has been working with Fife councillor Tom Adams and local and national environmental charities and campaign groups, including WWF and Friends of the Earth Scotland, in calling for the loophole to be closed, backing the campaign for a Frack Free Fife.
Mrs Baker said: “Only last month I called for the Scottish Government to bring forward their proposed consultation on fracking as the current delay was leaving the people of Fife voiceless.”
Last week Fife Council’s deputy leader Lesley Laird asked all Fife MSPs to support the council in its fight for UCG to be included in the moratorium and ensure the local authority and local communities be included in a review.
She has since written to all four MPs asking them for their support too.
“For years now I have been raising my concerns over fracking and UCG in Fife and across Scotland,” added the mid Scotland and Fife MSP. “I am delighted that Fife Council agrees that UCG should be included in the moratorium.
“Five months ago the Scottish Government announced their moratorium on fracking but failed to include UCG. Since I revealed their loophole the SNP have taken no action to close it.
“Meanwhile large companies are able to exploit this and press ahead with plans, leaving people in Fife voiceless.”
She said any extra pressure from Fife Council on the Scottish Government was welcome.
“It is time the Scottish Government quit stalling on consulting with the people of Scotland and allow their views to be heard on what is becoming an increasingly contentious process.
“The Scottish Government can take action on UCG if they so wish and in Fife we have seen a rise in opposition to the process from community groups to national environmental organisations the Scottish Government must now listen.
“I will be meeting with Fife Council to discuss their support for closing the UCG loophole and about what direct action they can take as a local authority to ensure that UCG doesn’t take place in Fife against the people’s wishes.
“I am clear, we cannot let UCG sneak into Fife through the back door.”