Green councillors are to seek council support for an outright ban on fracking and what they describe as ‘similar technologies’ in the Edinburgh Council area. This follows the announcement by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing in Holyrood yesterday that there will be a public inquiry into the process and a moratorium on all planning applications meantime.
The Edinburgh Reporter met with Councillor Chas Booth to find out what they believe the council can do:
The six-strong Green councillor group are tabling a motion at next week’s full council meeting pointing out the risks with unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification; and the inconsistency with the council’s own commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.
Cllr Chas Booth, Green environment spokesperson, said:
“While Edinburgh is not currently high on the list of potential sites where fracking licences are sought, we do have a large rural area immediately next to West Lothian where fracking is a live concern. And, of course, any activity around the Forth seabed would affect all councils which border the Forth estuary.
“So that is why I have tabled this motion seeking clarity on the city council’s position on fracking. It is a technology which puts at risk community and public health, the city’s own ambitious carbon reduction targets and Scotland’s real future in clean, green jobs.
“Over the last week I have heard a lot of bluster and bluff from senior Labour and SNP politicians, with weasel words about moratoriums and conditions, all of which leave the door open for fracking. It is time to send out a clear message: fracking and similar techniques are outdated follies which are not needed, not wanted and must be rejected.”
The motion is expected to say:-
1. MOTION FROM GREEN GROUP
Fracking and unconventional gas
Notes concerns over the health and environmental impacts of unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification;
Notes that, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New York State and many other countries and states have implemented moratoria or bans on fracking;
Believes that allowing unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification in Edinburgh would be inconsistent with the council’s climate change targets and would pose unacceptable risks to people’s health and the local environment;
Calls for a report within three cycles to review the minerals policies in the Local Development Plan in light of new health concerns over unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification, and to ensure the LDP is consistent with the Council’s sustainability policies and climate change targets;
Agrees that this report should also set out options for the council to implement an immediate ban on unconventional gas, fracking and coal gasification.