It seems some commenters are upset at the possibility that the SNP may be taking liberties with the truth when it comes to fracking.
A few days ago, This Blog published an article quoting Scottish Labour MSPs, who have challenged to SNP to make a firm commitment on whether it would ban fracking in Scotland.
The SNP, currently the ruling party in the Scottish Parliament, has imposed a temporary moratorium on fracking, but has commissioned research on how to clean up after fracking has taken place – indicating a willingness to consider allowing the controversial process in the future.
The issue is whether a ban is possible or not.
Some of you think it isn’t. You say that licences for fracking are issued by the UK Government in Westminster and there’s nothing the SNP in Scotland can do about it.
Well, think again!
This Writer has done a little digging of his own, and it didn’t take long to unearth some information on the Friends of the Earth website that explains what is happening and why Scotland should be able to make its own decisions on fracking in the future.
The site explains that, currently, the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change issues Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs) throughout Britain, which give companies exclusive rights to exploit onshore oil and gas resources.
Unconventional gas drilling has already taken place in a number of areas which were licensed under previous rounds – but no licences were issued in Scotland during the 14th round, which was announced last December.
This is because, under Smith Commission proposals, onshore oil and gas licensing powers will be devolved to Scotland in the next couple of years.
The moratorium is indefinite, and may last until such time as it will be up to the Scottish Government to decide whether any licences will be granted, or whether to ban fracking anywhere north of the English border.
So it is perfectly reasonable for Scottish Labour to say it will ban fracking – and perfectly reasonable for the SNP to be asked whether it will do the same.
I’m happy to clear that up for you.
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