South Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse has welcomed the moratorium on fracking announced this week by the Scottish Government.
The SNP Minister for Community Safety, from Ayton, went on to call for the full devolution of such activities to Scotland.
Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, announced earlier this week that a full public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction will be held to ensure that the voices of communities across Scotland are heard on the issue - alongside a moratorium on planning consents for unconventional onshore oil and gas wells, including ‘fracking’, which targets shale gas deposits.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “While we remain in the unjust situation where Scottish ministers are powerless to stop UK ministers awarding licenses for exploration, today’s announcement of a planning moratorium on subsequent applications for commercial scale unconventional gas activity in Scotland will be very much welcomed by communities across the country who have been alarmed by the gung-ho stance taken by the Tory-led Westminster Government.
“My inbox has been inundated with correspondence from constituents in areas of the Scottish Borders, Dumfriesshire and East Lothian who are opposed to ‘fracking’ of shale gas or extraction of other unconventional gas, such as coal bed methane, and this announcement by the Scottish Government gives them a clear indication of the SNP’s, and my own, stance on the issue.
“Today’s statement brings welcome clarity and stands in stark contrast to Labour’s chaotic approach to fracking. Bizarrely, last week we saw Jim Murphy announce his party’s supposed opposition to fracking, but this week his MPs then failed to support a moratorium in the House of Commons and, of course, the Lib Dem MP in the Borders, Michael Moore, even actively voted against a moratorium.
“The SNP Government has acted where Westminster parties have singularly failed to do so and is taking an evidence based approach and will listen to communities’ concerns. The sooner that the Tories and Lib Dems listen to the people of Scotland themselves - and devolve full control over licensing of such rights to Scotland too - the better.”