Tom-GreatrexTom Greatrex MP, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, says shale gas extraction must be stopped until key protections are in place.

 

Labour have tabled an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that will stop shale gas extraction. It will mean that it cannot go ahead until the right protections for the public and environment are in place.

The Tories seem prepared to accept shale gas at any cost, rather than listen to genuine and legitimate environmental concerns.

In Scotland, SNP ministers can already block any shale gas exploration or extraction if they want to. Scottish Labour have also already forced the UK government to stop changes to underground drilling permission applying to Scotland, meaning any changes can now only be made by Holyrood – so it is effectively devolved.

The SNP are silent on using the existing veto in Scotland, or how they would use the new powers being devolved in the Smith Agreement.

It is Scottish Labour who have set out how to respond to fracking, with the SNP simply following our lead.

With the vast majority of our homes still reliant on gas, the development of further indigenous resources could have a positive impact on our security of supply. But any shale gas developments cannot come at the cost of environmental protection and the consent of communities. That is why Scottish Labour MPs will vote today to prevent shale gas developments until those protections are in place.

The text of the amendment, to be debated today (Monday), reads:

Hydraulic fracturing: necessary conditions

Any hydraulic fracturing activity cannot take place:
a) unless an environmental impact assessment has been carried out;
b) unless independent inspections are carried out of the integrity of wells used;
c) unless monitoring has been undertaken on the site over the previous 12 month period;
d) unless site-by-site measurement, monitoring and public disclosure of existing and future fugitive emissions is carried out;
e) in land which is located within the boundary of a groundwater source protection zone;
f) within or under protected areas;
g) in deep-level land at depths of less than 1,000 metres;
h) unless planning authorities have considered the cumulative impact of hydraulic fracturing activities in the local area;
i) unless a provision is made for community benefit schemes to be provided by companies engaged in the extraction of gas and oil rock;
j) unless residents in the affected area are notified on an individual basis;
k) unless substances used are subject to approval by the Environment Agency
l) unless land is left in a condition required by the planning authority, and
m) unless water companies are consulted by the planning authority.