Ewing objects to UK plan to drill under homes without consent
Downloads 15/08/2014 09:12
Scotland Business and Industry Environment General Planning
Independence will take back energy powers to Scotland.
The Scottish Government are objecting to UK Government proposals which would remove the right of Scottish householders to object to oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing beneath their homes.
The proposals from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change will allow companies to drill below people’s land without first negotiating a right of access.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has said that powers on this issue should be with Scotland, and that independence will give the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government the power to consider policy on unconventional oil and gas in a cautious, considered and evidence-based way.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The Scottish Government believe that there should be an evidence based, cautious and considered approach to unconventional oil and gas, and that all of the decisions taken about it should be taken by the people of Scotland, through the Parliament and Government they elected.
“UK Government proposals to remove the right of Scottish householders to object to drilling under their homes flies in the face of that approach and that is why we object to them. It is also fundamentally an issue affecting land ownership rights.
“The gung-ho approach of the UK Government to the whole issue of unconventional oil and gas – often without any consultation with the Scottish Government at all – contrasts with our approach.
“Whatever your view on the issue of unconventional oil and gas – and it is clear that there are both opportunities and concerns – there is only one way that the people of Scotland can determine the approach in Scotland – including beneath their homes and land. That is to take the power to deal with this issue away from Westminster and that can only be done with the powers of independence.“
In June, Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planning, announced the new Scottish Planning Policy. Following extensive public consultation and rigorous scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament, it was clear that concerns remained over buffer-zones and community engagement. Five new measures were introduced in relation to hydraulic fracturing, including bringing in a requirement that developments only proceed if communities and the environment can be protected, and operators will have to consult with communities on their proposals.
The Scottish Government convened a group of experts last September to review the scientific evidence on unconventional oil & gas, and on 28th July they published an authoritative and impartial report. The findings from the Independent Expert Scientific Panel have highlighted a number of issues that may require further work, including some suggestions on further tightening of our robust regulatory process. A Working Group will now look at these areas to take forward those suggestions.
Notes To Editors