ENERGY EXTRACTION: PUTTING SAFETY FIRST

Angus MacDonald MSP overlooking landscape around Ineos Oil Refinery Grangemouth web-sized

MacDonald welcomes research into impact of onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction

The Scottish Government has today invited tenders for a research programme into the potential impacts of onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing informed Parliament in October that the Government will carry out a thorough and wide-ranging research process into the potential impacts of onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction to inform a full public consultation to take place in winter 2016/17.

The Scottish Government research programme will include projects on transport impacts, decommissioning and aftercare, seismic monitoring, climate change and economic impact. It is committed to gathering robust evidence on the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas, and giving stakeholders and the public time to consider the issues and express their views and concerns.

In addition to this, the Scottish Government has asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to undertake the climate change impact study. A public health impact assessment is also being carried out by Health Protection Scotland. The projects are scheduled to report by summer 2016 in order to facilitate this process.

Announcing the news, Mr. Ewing stated, “No fracking can or will take place while our moratorium remains in place. We have committed to carry out a wide-ranging research programme, followed by an extensive public consultation, which will allow interested parties to express their views.

“The Scottish Government has now invited tenders for key components of this research. Overall, this programme is a comprehensive package of work covering key aspects of onshore unconventional oil and gas. Gathering robust evidence on the issues that matter to communities is our immediate priority in order to ensure that the public and stakeholders are in possession of the facts when the consultation begins.”

Commenting, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald – an active member of Holyrood’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee - said, “I welcome today’s announcement that the tendering process for research into unconventional oil and gas has opened. It represents a major step towards fully understanding the potential impact of this technology, and towards hearing people’s views on the matter.

“The development of new energy technologies must be properly informed, and must be in line with our environmental aims. It is welcome, therefore, that as long as the moratorium remains in place, no fracking will take place in Scotland.

“It is important that we continue to take a cautious, evidence-based approach to unconventional oil and gas, as opposed to the reckless one adopted by the UK Government. This research process will ensure that the public has the best and most wide-ranging information possible ahead of the consultation – and I believe that this the right approach to take.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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