The SNP are in Aberdeen for their Party Conference. Membership has increased by over 300 per cent since the referendum. All but three of the Scottish Westminster seats are now held by the SNP making them the third largest party at Westminster following the general election in May.
In advance of today’s SNP conference debate on fracking and unconventional fossil fuels, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The SNP conference presents a crucial opportunity for SNP members to tell the leadership exactly how they feel about fracking and unconventional fossil fuels in Scotland. The conference motion has been overtaken by events but there will not doubt be plenty of strong feelings among the grassroots membership. The loophole which allows test drilling will no doubt also feature in the debate.”
While delegates are expected to commend the Scottish Government on its recent decision to place a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification, SNP members are also expected to urge the Scottish Government to turn the moratoria on unconventional fossil fuels into full and permanent bans.
“The SNP has faced growing pressure from within its own ranks from the new campaign group SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas (SMAUG), who are calling on the Scottish Government to ban fracking, coal-bed methane and underground coal gasification outright. The Scottish Government must listen to its party members as well as communities from across Scotland who do not want unconventional fossil fuels because of climate change, environmental and economic impacts.
“Fracking and unconventional fossil fuels have no place in Scotland’s future energy mix. The world has many times more fossil fuel reserves than we can afford to burn if we want to avoid dangerous climate change. The Scottish Government should be investing in exploiting our abundance of wind, wave and tidal power, not letting companies profit from the development of dangerous technologies that are unwanted in Scotland.”
1130am Update: Reacting to the very lively debate at the SNP conference over fracking and unconventional fossil fuels today, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “SNP members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of reigning in Underground Coal Gasification, a risky and experimental technique of burning coal under the ground, with a very clear message to the Party leadership that what they really want is a full ban policy straight away. Underground Coal Gasification has a disastrous track-record from around the world of environmental pollution with recent test projects in Australia resulting in major contamination.
“Speaker after speaker welcomed the new moratorium from the Scottish Government but called for the party to take back a full ban on both fracking and underground coal gasification ahead of next year’s election. No-one spoke in favour of fracking or unconventional fossil fuels.
“Today’s debate highlights how strongly the SNP grassroots feel about Scotland’s energy future. We heard a clear message that Scotland should be investing in clean, green technologies and exploiting its abundance of wind, wave and tidal potential, instead of investing in the fossil fuel industry that further exacerbates the climate change crisis. Scotland is on track to transition to a low-carbon economy and meet its climate change targets only if it says no to the unconventional fossil fuel industry before it gets its foot in the door.”