Instead of encouraging the use of fossil fuels by making the planning process easier for their development, we should be boosting renewable energy projects.
In 2016, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report on shale gas and our climate change targets. It found that fracking was not compatible with these targets unless it met several conditions, including that gas consumption remains in line with our carbon budgets. Yet these budgets require our gas consumption to decrease sharply after 2030. Fracking would therefore commit us to fossil fuels long after we need to have moved to clean energy.
In your letter, you note your concerns about the UK Government’s proposals to bypass local decision making on fracking. As you may know, local planning is a devolved matter in Scotland. The Scottish Government has previously claimed that fracking is banned in Scotland. However, following a recent legal challenge, a judgement from Lord Pentland has ruled this is not the case, and that “there is no prohibition against fracking in force” in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has since stated that a moratorium is in place which means no local authority can grant planning permission and Scottish Government Ministers would defer any decision on any planning application that did come forward until the policymaking process is completed.
Only a full legal ban on fracking will protect communities, the environment and future generations across Scotland. I have long believed the Scottish Parliament should pass a Bill to ban onshore fracking in Scotland – something the Scottish Government has not done. At Westminster level, I also support a ban on fracking.
In light of the above, I can assure you that I – alongside my colleagues in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments – will continue to oppose fracking in favour of a sustainable, low carbon energy future for Scotland and the rest of the UK.