A Scottish Labour MP has called for fracking only to be allowed in Scotland and the rest of the UK with “robust regulation” and comprehensive monitoring.
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Shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex’s comments came as a row blew up over plans to remove the right of people to object to companies drilling below their homes.
Responding to the Government’s announcement on Thursday, Scottish Energy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the development showed the need for devolved powers on oil and gas drilling north of the Border.
The UK-wide plan would give companies the right to drill at depths of 300 metres or more under private land without negotiating a right of access.
Mr Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said: “Shale gas extraction must only be permitted to happen in Scotland and across the UK with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring. Too often, David Cameron’s Government have ignored genuine and legitimate environmental concerns in pursuit of a rhetoric-led policy.
“Labour is pushing the Government to close a number of loopholes in the current regulation and put existing good practice on to a statutory footing. We will force companies to publicly disclose what chemicals are used in shale gas extraction and to ensure that environmental impact assessments are conducted at all sites.
“Anyone looking to extract shale gas in the UK will also be required to conduct baseline assessments over 12 months, setting an accurate standard by which we can identify any impact on the local environment.
The UK Government insisted that most powers needed are already devolved to Holyrood.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change ran a consultation this year asking whether the Government should legislate for underground access to gas, oil and geothermal developers below 300 metres. More than 99 per cent of the 40,647 respondents opposed the idea but the DECC said it will continue with the proposed policy, saying it is the “right approach”.
A UK Government spokesman said:”The Scottish Government statement ignores the fact most of the powers needed to make Scottish decisions on this matter are already devolved to Holyrood. It is simply misleading to claim householders will lose their say.
“The Scottish Parliament already has all the necessary powers to decide on application of this approach in Scotland, as planning policy is devolved to the Parliament and is unaffected by these proposals.”