Local SNP politicians have claimed the publication of the third National Planning Framework (NPF3) from the Scottish Government will help to boost Scotland’s economic growth while introducing greater protections for scenic areas and tougher rules on unconventional oil and gas extraction.

The framework introduces five new measures in relation to hydraulic fracturing (fracking), shale gas and coalbed methane extraction.

These new measure will help protect communities and the environment in the Airth and Skinflats area, where coalbed methane extraction is under consideration.

Falkirk East MSP and member of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, Angus MacDonald said:

“Although there are no fracking projects operating in Scotland, there is understandable concern in the communities around Airth about what impact any potential development would have.

“That is why I am delighted to see that the latest National Planning Framework has introduced tougher rules including a requirement for, community consultations, buffer zones and any application for coalbed methane or shale gas extraction must comply with the appropriate regulatory regimes, including SEPA’s guidance on the regulation of shale gas and coalbed methane.

“This will ensure that the communities are protected from developments, and in particular I welcome that the policy makes it clear that the buffer zones will be assessed by the planning authorities and statutory consultees.”

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson added;

“This has been an issue that I have taken a great interest in. There are many residents particularly in the Larbert and Stenhousemuir parts of my constituency who are concerned at this proposal. I have raised my own objection to the proposal given the impact it could have on my constituents.

“That is why I’m particularly pleased that under the new National Planning Framework it will be up to the local planning authority to determine policy as it relates to buffer zones."

Local SNP Councillor Steven Carleschi, who was one of the key witnesses at the recent public inquiry for Unconventional Gas Extraction at Letham Moss said:

“This has been a long process and I am delighted at the positive result.  It demonstrates that the Scottish Government is listening to local communities on their justifiable concerns regarding Unconventional Gas Extraction.”

Larbert Councillor Tom Coleman, who has also been active in the recent campaign said:

 “I welcome the additional requirements now in place and the strong expectation that planning permission be refused should buffer zone conditions not be met.”

The active planning application for development of coalbed methane extraction in the Letham Moss area is being considered by a Scottish Government Planning Reporter. The Reporter is due to hold the final evidence session in August and will make a decision on whether or not to grant permission towards the end of this year.

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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