Fergus Ewing, energy minister for Scotland, is opposing plans that would remove the right of homeowners to object to fracking companies drilling beneath their homes.
The plans, which are still under review by the UK government, would make drilling under residential areas far easier for drilling companies, granting them automatic access rights for drilling at a depth of more than 1,000ft (300m).
Ewing has stated that this decision should be taken in Holyrood, rather than Westminster.
Talking to BBC Scotland, Ewing said, “We have to have a proper debate about this.
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“Simply proceeding by threatening to remove people’s rights without any consultation with the people of Scotland is quite simply wrong.”
Fracking has attracted high levels of controversy, as opposition groups to shale gas extraction believe the environmental impacts to be too costly.
Friends of the Earth Scotland director, Dr Richard Dixon, said, “We are delighted that the Scottish government is saying no to UK government plans to remove people’s rights to stop, or even be notified about, shale gas fracking underneath their homes.
“The UK government is falling over itself to get fracking going, all credit to Scottish ministers for having more respect for Scottish communities.”
Public support for fracking has been dwindling, with a recent government poll suggesting a fall for support of 24% over recent weeks. This poll contradicts findings of an industry led poll which stated the opposite, suggesting the public were in general favour of drilling, regardless of the environmental impacts.
“We are taking a cautious approach yes, we are taking an evidence based approach. We are looking at matters further and if we decide that it may provide opportunities for Scotland, then perhaps it should be done in a controlled considered way, in appropriate parts of Scotland,” Ewing added.
Photo source: Robin Webster
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