The Scottish National Party has described Scottish Labour’s policy on fracking as a “sham” as the vast majority of Scottish Labour MPs abstained on a key fracking vote in the House of Commons today.
They abstained on the moratorium on fracking for 18-30 months in today’s Infrastructure Bill. Scottish Labour’s position on the vote was unclear following a BBC Radio interview on BBC Good Morning Scotland on Saturday with their spokesperson, Sarah Boyack MSP, who repeatedly refused to set out how they will vote.
The SNP along with some English Labour MPs, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, supported the amendment calling for a UK moratorium on fracking.
Commenting, SNP energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP said:
“Scottish Labour have been found out.
“Scottish Labour have proven themselves to be a complete sham on fracking. After a weekend of posturing Jim Murphy’s MPs failed to back a fracking moratorium. Clearly they are now just announcing policies, any policies for publicity and political gain yet doing nothing to follow them through.
“Their pathetic motion did not involve a moratorium, and did not even apply to Scotland.
“The SNP support a UK moratorium to ensure that no more licences for fracking are granted before full powers over licensing are transferred to the Scottish Parliament.
“Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has written to the UK Government asking them not to issue any more licences in Scotland, but today’s vote could have forced them to stop. This would have ensured that the Tory days of gung-ho fracking policies come to an end in Scotland and we could develop our own system when powers are devolved.
“The Scottish Government has taken a cautious, considered and evidence based approach and this is a perfect illustration why all powers over fracking, both licensing and planning, should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament so it is able to take decisions in the interests of the people of Scotland.
SNP MEDIA 0207 219 1602
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is proposing to update Parliament this week about how the Scottish Government will take forward and strengthen their cautious approach to this issue, given the planned devolution of powers.
Good Morning Scotland – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ykbzg
The text of the amendment to the Infrastructure Bill is below.
Moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas
Clause 38, page 45, line 25, at end insert –
“(5A) All use of land for development consisting of the exploitation of unconventional petroleum in Great Britain shall be discontinued during the relevant period.
(5B) The Secretary of State must ensure that an independent assessment is undertaken in relation to the exploitation of unconventional petroleum [in Great Britain] including the use of high volume hydraulic fracturing.
(5C) The assessment must take account of the impacts of the exploitation of unconventional petroleum on –
health and safety;
(5D) The Secretary of State must –
consult such persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit; and
publish the assessment
within the relevant period.
(5E) For the purposes of subsections (5A) to (5D) –
“relevant period” means a period of not less than 18 months and not more than 30 months commencing on the date two months after Royal Assent;
“unconventional petroleum” means petroleum which does not flow readily to the wellbore.
(5F) In section 3 of the Petroleum Act 1998, after subsection (4) insert –
“and subsection (4A).
(4A) Nothing in this section permits the grant of a licence to search and bore for and get unconventional petroleum in Great Britain during the relevant period.
(4B) For the purposes of subsection (4A) “relevant period” and “unconventional petroleum” have the meaning specified in section 38(5B) of the Infrastructure Act 2015.”
Ayes: 52 Noes: 308