Mike calls for certainty on fracking powers

 

Angus MP Mike Weir has reiterated his opposition to fracking and called upon all powers relating to the process to be devolved to Scotland.

Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons Mr Weir said

“There is a large area of central Scotland, stretching through to my own constituency in Angus which has been identified as having potential for shale gas extraction. Much of that is a highly densely populated area”

“Even in Denton Texas, the very home of fracking a recent Referendum voted to end it. Other states in the USA are turning against it because of environmental concerns. We should take note of these. If even in the wide open spaces of the American West there are concerns about the impact of fracking how much more should there be in much more densely populated areas such as ours.”

Mr Weir specifically raised his concerns regarding the interaction between planning law and the UK government’s approach to changes in the law to make fracking easier. Commenting on this Mr Weir said

“Local Authorities and the Scottish Government have powers over planning in Scotland which, clearly, gives them some powers to restrict the practise if that is the wish of local communities. What is not clear, however, is how this sits with the power of the UK government to grant licences under the Petroleum Act 1998 and the rights to enter on to ground to exercise such rights, let alone the changes proposed by the Infrastructure Act which removes the right  of landowners to object to fracking under their ground “

“I raised these issues during the debate but, unfortunately, yet again the Minister chose to ignore these real concerns.”

Mr Weir added that the Scottish Government had taken a much more cautious approach to fracking including ensuring there would be buffer zones around fracking sites and appointing an expert scientific panel to look at all the evidence as to the implications of fracking.

“The UK government’s plans cut across Scottish land law, which is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and leave confusion as to what and who has ultimate responsibility. Local communities in Angus and elsewhere deserve to know where power and responsibility lie in these matters and this can best be done by devolving all powers in relation to fracking to the Scottish Parliament so that their concerns can be properly addressed.”

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