Campaigners hit out as latest fracking licensing round closes
UK government ministers are “hell-bent” on handing over some of Scotland’s most picturesque and historic areas to fracking, a leading environmental group has claimed.
Friends of the Earth Scotland hit out as the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round, in which 20,000 square km across central and southern Scotland has been offered for unconventional fossil fuel exploitation, draws to a close today.
The successful bidders and areas under license will not be made public until after the UK general election.
Fracking creates thousands of small explosions underground which campaigners say are unsafe and the technology unproven.
As the licences are distributed by the UK government, the Scottish Government is limited in its response.
Opening up a new frontier of fossil fuels is totally irresponsible
Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns, said: “The UK government appears to be hellbent on handing some of the most populated and beautiful parts of the country to the fracking industry despite the very significant risks it poses.
“While leading economists warn that fracking will not reduce gas prices nor impact on energy security, the UK government is ploughing ahead with removing peoples’ rights to object to gas drilling underneath their homes in an effort to woo the industry.”
Although the Scottish shale resource is thought to be moderate and difficult to access, opportunistic operators looking to make a quick buck will take up licenses in the central belt in the hope of hitting a sweet spot, unless the Scottish Government sends a clear signal that they are not welcome, said Church.
She added: “In the context of the latest climate science, opening up a new frontier of fossil fuels is totally irresponsible.
“We urge the Scottish Government to use existing powers to implement a ban on unconventional gas extraction altogether and instead focus on harnessing our abundant clean energy resources.”