Jim Radcliffe, the head of the chemical giant Ineos, owners of the Grangemouth refinery, has said that shale gas extraction is Scotland’s best chance to gain “economic independence”. His comments come in the wake of the Scottish National Party’s (SNP’s) vote rejecting a bid to toughen up the party’s stance on fracking.
Pointing to the Scottish government’s independent panel on fracking which concluded that the shale gas industry would be beneficial to Scotland, and could operate safely, Ratcliffe said: “Shale gas is Scotland’s best and last chance to gain economic independence. On one hand, the country can embrace this energy revolution, reinvigorate the manufacturing industry, and create jobs for generations to come.”
“Or Scotland can turn its back on this abundant raw material — and leave it to England,” he added.
Less than two weeks after Scottish Government added underground coal gasification (UCG) to its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, another vote took place over proposed imposition of an outright ban on shale exploration.
The ban was championed by SMAUG (SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas), whose founding member, Iain Black from the SNP’s Forth branch, said: “We believe that the evidence and the science absolutely and overwhelmingly supports a ban.
“There’s science and then there’s science that’s paid for by big business with research grants.
“The SNP is about healthy communities, you can’t have healthy communities if you destroy the land, if you destroy the air, if you destroy the water that we drink. It’s Scotland’s land, it’s Scotland’s air, it’s Scotland’s water,” he concluded.
Ultimately, the motion was narrowly defeated by 427 votes to 554. SNP ministers have said the moratorium will allow for more research and consultation on the technique, a process which is not expected to be completed until spring 2017.
The decision came in the wake of the recent poll results conducted by YouGov, which revealed that three-quarters of those who plan to vote for the SNP in next year’s Holyrood election are opposed to fracking, with only 13 percent backing it.
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