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Holyrood to debate full fracking ban

The Scottish Parliament is to debate a ban on fracking as part of a Holyrood environment and land reform debate.

New environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham is to lead a debate calling for a ‘sustainable low-carbon economy’.

Scottish Labour has tabled an amendment calling for a full ban on fracking, while the Greens have another speaking against it.

The Scottish government currently has a moratorium on the controversial method of oil and gas extraction.

The SNP’s manifesto for the Holyrood election committed to there being no fracking in Scotland ‘unless it can be proven beyond doubt that there is no risk to health, communities or the environment’.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens favour an immediate and outright ban, while Nicola Sturgeon has said she is ‘highly sceptical’ about the technique.

Ms Cunningham’s motion for Wednesday’s debate asks parliament to agree that ‘Scotland’s stunning natural environment is one of its most precious assets’, and says that ‘wise and productive use of the country’s natural capital is at the heart of a strong, sustainable, low-carbon economy’.

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish put forward an amendment asking parliament to ‘recognise that, to meet Scotland’s climate change goals and protect the environment, there must be an outright ban on fracking in Scotland’.

‘Clear signal’

She said parliament could ‘send out a very clear signal’ by backing a ban, and warned that the SNP was faced with a choice ‘to side with centre left parties like Labour to stop fracking, or side with the Tories to go ahead with this dangerous plan’.

Meanwhile, Green MSP Andy Wightman has lodged another amendment which notes, among other things, that fracking is ‘incompatible with Scotland’s low-carbon ambitions’.

Mr Wightman also addresses land reform, describing it as ‘a process of changing the legal, political, economic and fiscal relationship between society and land across urban, rural and marine Scotland’ and calling for ‘radical and ongoing reform to democratise land”‘

The Scottish Conservatives have lodged an amendment asking for ‘low-carbon’ to be replaced in the original motion with a passage about the ‘circular economy’, calling for a ‘vibrant rural economy’.

Photo by bnhsu 

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