Scottish Communities Voice in Call for Legal Ban on Fracking

by Maria Montinaro

Scottish Communities Voice in Call for Legal Ban on Fracking

by Maria Montinaro
Maria Montinaro
Case Owner
Community Councillor, Shieldhill and California in Falkirk (18 years) Founder member of Concerned Communities of Falkirk www.faug.org.uk Championing Equal Right of Appeal for Communities in Planning
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Maria Montinaro
Case Owner
Community Councillor, Shieldhill and California in Falkirk (18 years) Founder member of Concerned Communities of Falkirk www.faug.org.uk Championing Equal Right of Appeal for Communities in Planning
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A Government's First Duty

The first duty of any government is to protect its people. Westminster is instead putting the interests of multi-national corporate organisations ahead of its English, Scottish and Welsh citizens.

Scottish communities still don't have a legally robust ban on fracking that communities can be confident will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

A  new Scottish government could reverse the current policy proposal for an "effective ban". Scottish Communities  need an enforceable permanent legal ban. Please support Scottish Community Councils' legal representation on behalf of our Communities by contributing now  and  sharing this page with your family, friends, communities and on social media.


Scottish Experience 

The Scottish Government's moratorium and subsequent “effective ban” policy did not happen out of the blue.  Scottish residents and communities have been campaigning since 2012 to keep this issue in front of their MPs and councillors, first by Falkirk communities voicing their concerns through the UK’s first public inquiry for “commercially viable” unconventional oil & gas facilities in 2014, then by Central Belt communities building on that momentum during the moratorium public consultation. 

Were it not for Falkirk Communities educating and informing themselves of the potential risks and harms associated with the Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) Industry in 2012 before fracking had become national news through Balcombe resident’s opposition, INEOS in Scotland would by now be leading the way for exploitation in the rest of the UK - hundreds of Coalbed Methane wells potentially drilled across the Central Belt and Dumfries for commercial production.

Following the public inquiry in 2014 and the moratorium in 2015, the Scottish Government's Talk 'Fracking' Public Consultation drew over 65,000 responses. Of those,  99% of respondents opposed it.

When Scottish Government listened to its residents and proposed an “effective ban” we were jubilant.  When INEOS attempted to judicially review the Government’s decision we were deeply concerned our efforts had been in vain.  Whilst INEOS lost at that stage, it was only because the judge said the Judicial Review was too early.  We are still anxious that INEOS may attempt another Judicial Review after the Scottish Government completes its “effective ban” policy.


Legal Representation

As we have been keeping our MPs accountable to communities since 2012, we feel it is important for Community Councils to not let go of the slack at these final stages where the draft “Strategic Environmental Assessment” (SEA) of the effective ban policy is now out to public consultation.   

At considerably reduced fees, Sir Crispin Agnew QC (of Westwater Advocates) and Mothiur Rahman (of New Economy Law) have agreed to make representations on behalf of Scottish Community Councils to the draft SEA on the Scottish Government’s preferred policy position of “no support for fracking/unconventional oil or gas extraction.” Submission deadline 18th December, 2018.

Both Sir Crispin and Mothiur were members of the legal team at the Dart Energy Public Inquiry 2014, representing Concerned Communities of Falkirk and nine Falkirk Community Councils.  Despite that Inquiry being in 2014, that application for commercially viable UOG facilities is still to be determined pending the final policy position of Scottish Government.  


Evidence of Risks & Harm

Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility Compendium of evidence on the risks and harms of fracking   psr.org/resources/fracking-compendium.html


www.channel4.com/news/why-the-dutch-are-ditching-gas-extraction

https://drillordrop.com/2018/11/12/guest-post-save-the-fylde-keep-the-earthquake-safety-limit-at-0-5/


Maria Montinaro comments on Dart Energy and their activities at Airth in Scoltand 2013  (Ineos now own Dart Energy  PEDL 133)


Scottish Planning Policy

In 2014, prior to the moratorium, the Scottish Government introduced buffer zones   allowing the Industry to determine a safe distance from Communities.   Even Ineos'  400m buffer zone based on noise  may be permitted to be reduced in the light of specific circumstances.

Petroleum Exploration & Development Licences (PEDLs) across the Central Belt & Dumfries with superimposed 2km buffer zone.


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