Fracking and Local Government

Fracking for shale gas is a devolved issue for the Scottish Parliament. Therefore, it is for MSPs to decide whether or not fracking should go ahead.

Nevertheless, I am supportive of planning decisions being made by local councils in most cases. For example, recent wind farms in my constituency have been rejected by the local council and then later approved by the Scottish Government. Although I am supportive of renewables, it is important that local democracy is not ignored. Therefore, I am glad that measures taken by the UK Government include strengthening community engagement by consulting on the potential to make pre-application consultations a statutory requirement, and launching a new £1.6 million shale support fund over the next two years to build capacity in local authorities dealing with shale applications. However, please note these measures will only apply in England as fracking is devolved, as I have said.

On the whole, I do not believe that we should be ruling out fracking in Scotland as it has the potential to create jobs and lower energy bills. However, I realise the importance of ensuring that fracking is carried out safely.