Why won’t the SNP come clean on its attitude to fracking?

Is this another instance of the Scottish people being misled by the SNP?

Or is it all dreadful Scottish Labour propaganda that nobody in their right mind should believe?

If the latter, then why is the Scottish Government not pledging to ban fracking? Why is it looking into post-fracking clean-up operations? And what was said to the fracking firms?

At First Minister’s Questions today Kezia [Dugdale] challenged the First Minister [Nicola Sturgeon] to back her pledge to ban fracking in Scotland.

Despite the SNP campaigning on an anti-fracking platform last May, Nicola Sturgeon refused to back Labour’s pledge.

The SNP are only committed to a temporary freeze on fracking, not an outright ban, and have commissioned major research on how to clean up after fracking.

The SNP Government are also not releasing minutes of meetings with business who stand to gain millions from fracking in Scotland.

Before First Minister’s Questions, SNP Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the SNP Government’s current approach is to pursue fracking based on evidence and no conclusions had been reached.

What the SNP aren’t telling you about fracking in Scotland

At SNP conference last year, the party leadership stopped the grassroots party membership from passing an explicitly anti-fracking motion.

Nicola Sturgeon met Jim Radcliffe,  the Chief Executive of Ineos, who stands to make millions from fracking, the day the SNP announced a fracking freeze
But the SNP Government aren’t keeping minutes from these meetings.

Mr Ratcliffe says that the SNP aren’t opposed to fracking.

Scotland’s Environmental quango is working with Whitehall departments on a communions strategy with other civil service agencies around about how to spin fracking – and aren’t keeping minutes of their meetings either.

The SNP Government have commissioned major research into fracking, including into decommissioning. Despite saying they won’t allow fracking, they are researching how to clean up after it.

– See more at: http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/blog/entry/nicola-sturgeon-plans-to-give-the-green-light-to-fracking-if-she-is-re-elec#sthash.T8RB0FPB.5ClNgmOh.dpuf

Source: Nicola Sturgeon plans to give the green light to fracking if she is re-elected in May | Scottish Labour Party

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21 thoughts on “Why won’t the SNP come clean on its attitude to fracking?

  1. Joan Edington

    A lot is being made of the SNP’s research into the possible clean-up after fracking, assuming that it means they WILL go ahead with it. I am not absolutely sure of their post-election moves, neither are the Labour Party, but I would have thought that clean-up measures would be just as much a part of research into the whole environmental issue of fracking as water-contamination or earthquakes. I am anti-fracking myself but, just for argument’s sake, if research showed that fracking could be done safely but cloean-up was impossible, the full research should fail.

    Kezza is saying that Labour would ban fracking in scotland. She can say that from the stance that she knows they will not be in power. If they were, what would their stance be?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What makes you say she knows Labour won’t take power?
      If the SNP is being economical with the truth, why should people support that party?

      1. Joan Edington

        I know you’d love it if it happened but it would take some event of mega-proportion for the SNP to slip that far by May.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It will happen, though.
        “You can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” as the saying goes.

    2. Joyce Cox

      With you on that one Joan. Kezia Dugdale has never said one thing that would entice me back to Labour. And I would expect nothing less of the SNP than very thorough research into fracking. One thing I do know is that they will never risk Scotland’s resources for fools gold.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I can’t help but think of the promise that North Sea Oil revenues would sustain an independent Scotland’s economy – at a time when oil prices were falling through the floor.

    3. Ian Gibson

      Firstly the dug can say a lot of things but seeing as she will never get into power they dont mean diddly squat!! Also the scottish government CANNOT outright ban fracking due to it still being under westminsters control and it would result in an almighty court case. The snp have done the onky thing they can do at this stage which is to suspend it in planning stage. All the other parties know this yet they still give it the big i am safe in the knowledge they will never have to follow through with the promises!!

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You are mistaken.
        Power over fracking licences is to be devolved to Scotland, at which time the Scottish Government will be able to ban fracking. The moratorium is indefinite and may continue until then.
        It is perfectly possible for the SNP to say whether it will accept the will of the Scottish people and ban fracking, or not.

  2. Joyce Cox

    this is such obvious propaganda from the Labour party who know perfectly well that the SNP cannot impose a ban on fracking without risking being sued by the companies who have already been granted licenses to drill

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why would anybody have been granted a licence when there’s a moratorium while the safety/clean-up issues are being investigated?
      Either you’re making no sense at all, or the Scottish Government is.

      1. 1alanm

        Licences for fracking are granted by Westminster not the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government are limited in how they can control fracking and are restricted to using the planning system, along with the risks of applicants appealing to ensure they can benefit from the licences they purchased from Westminster.

      2. Radio Jammor (@RadioJammor)

        “Why would anybody have been granted a licence when there’s a moratorium”

        Mike, I’m trying to get to the bottom of what the truth is here, but this question is the wrong one. Exploration fracking licences have already been issued. The moratorium (which Scottish Labour called for before the SNP Gov introduced it) came after.

        “Ineos, the firm which holds 729 sq miles of fracking exploration licences across central Scotland, strongly opposed a moratorium in the run-up to it being announced…” – http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13211611.SNP_accused_of_misleading_voters_over_anti_fracking_claims/

        This therefore comes back to the post you are replying to and a Social Media meme that is flying around which states: “The devolved Scottish Parliament cannot ban fracking. The only power the Scottish Parliament has is to declare a moratorium. If the Scottish parliament was to ban fracking, then the fracking companies can take the Scottish Government to court where the supreme power lays in London, where the UK Government supports fracking..”

        The argument here then is that the moratorium in Scotland is more effective than a ban, which can be overturned and is likely to be overturned, leading to fracking in Scotland.

        The argument is messy for a number of reasons. The Scottish Parliament is essentially answerable to Westminster, if Westminster chooses to intervene. The issue of whether the jurisdiction would be English law or Scottish law is unclear, but it seems that any which way, it could well end up in a London court, if the lawyers get involved.

        This therefore means that the Scottish Government is either being very canny, as it has control of local planning so it can effectively enforce an indefinite moratorium which cannot be overturned, thereby doing the one thing that would actually stop fracking in Scotland,#.

        Or is it playing both sides, by appeasing the anti-fracking sentiment by imposing a moratorium, for the sake of votes at the General Election last year and the Scottish Elections this year?

        I have tried to ask people, particularly in the Green Party, who are clearly for a ban, if they could agree with or disprove the contents of that meme and whether the moratorium is actually more effective than a ban. Surely if the Greens think a moratorium is more effective, why would they call for a ban – or are they as politically opportunistic as all the other parties, calling for a ban because the SNP’s position is officially neutral – and despite the possibility that a ban could be over-turned and result in the opposite to their stance?

        No body will respond. No one seems willing or able to argue against what that meme says.

        The politics of this are now even messier. In walking the officially neutral tightrope line, the Scottish Government must appear neutral until any reports they commission see the light of day. As time has dragged-on, and we approach the Scottish elections, the opposition parties are now changing their stance in an attempt to attack the SNP over this. Other parties are now calling for a ban – but is this just attacking the target because it is playing neutral when it is actually against fracking, or because it is hedging its bets?

        If an actual ban was put in place, would it be counter-productive, or not?

        I’ve seen no counter-argument to the SNP’s apparent nod and wink position – but then that means the other parties attacking the moratorium don’t actually care about fracking, They care more about how they are perceived over it – because if attacking the moratorium is actually counter-productive, as a ban could be thrown out, then the other parties are wilfully going about something which will result in the opposite of what they say they want!

        The SNP’s stance politically is win-win. If the reports into fracking say fracking is unsafe, then they will be able to stop fracking and be hailed as heroes. If they say it is safe, then they will be able to say that they have independent evidence that states this – and the other parties will look foolish for calling for a ban.

        I don’t know the truth of the matter – I am just trying to lay it out – as it seems to be a very big game of bluff may be being played in Scotland over this issue, and someone is going to lose all their chips when this hand is through.

      3. Joyce Cox

        simply because fracking is not devolved. The SNP cannot ban fracking. And would it not be stupid to review fracking without reviewing disposal of the waste?

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh dear. There is an answer to this but I think I’ll do it as a quick article.

  3. jeffrey davies

    post-fracking clean-up operations ha ha ha just like in america they go bust its the tax payers who pick up the bill
    joyce sais SNP cannot impose a ban on fracking without risking being sued by the companies who have already been granted licenses to drill have we signed ttip yet are we not in control hmm being sued by the yanky companys will affect the peasants if ttip is signed

  4. Gavin Proctor

    You are spot on Mike, the SNP are far too happy to make pledges to voters that really aren’t materialising, at least the moratorium has stuck for now.

    The SNP like any party in power are susceptible to lobbying influences from the very powerful oil and gas industry in Scotland, I imagine a Scottish Labour government would have a different outlook in power too. My point isn’t about parties though, its about the anti-fracking movement maintaining momentum, political pressure and getting mainstream media on side across the UK.

  5. Terry Davies

    sounds very complicated. wonder if Trump has vested interests in the companies which may sue the scottish government for loss of profits via TTIP.????

  6. andy

    I am all for independence but ever since the SNP turned against its salt of the earth people in Aberdeen to side with Trump and his golfcourse while he was calling people tring to save their properties ‘A bunch of tramps ‘(paraphrase) they cannot be trusted as with labour mind you.

  7. mar g

    The highly radioactive waste resulting from fracking has no disposal facility anywhere in the UK, so the Brit gov decided to downgrade the highly hazardous waste grade to hazardous, ignoring conveniently the fact it is VERY dangerous end product the industry would prefer nobody discussed.

    In Preston AT THE INQUIRY last week Cuadrilla tried ducking the issue, when FOE asked why it was not factored into their planning app, by saying the waste management was nothing to do with them, or local planners and was only the business of the EA!!!

    Frack waste would use up 65% of UK waste disposal capacity, and given Cumbrian coast is practically a leaky nuclear minefield, with most other land fill sites around England cause for concern about how badly monitored and regulated is highly hazardous waste, or even normal waste, frackers would rather nobody was legally allowed to discuss the issue!

    Worrying that Cuadkilla imagines the mineral and waste policy docs of councils should not apply to them….

    Scotland’s EA were planning for fracking across the Midland Valley circa the year of the indie referendum, even while the SNP were telling all the press to broadcast it wouldn’t be taking place.

    I suspect Cameron ran a deal with Scot gov to renege on indie plans with huge payouts promised for halting the march to separatism, and this will come from turning Scotland into UK radioactive wasteland once the EU deal binds us forever to TTIP and Euro rule.

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