Councillor hits out at ‘pro-fracking agenda’

A councillor says she fears Scotland will be “hung out to dry” by government ministers eager to appease fracking firms and the gas industry.

North Lanarkshire Green Councillor Frances McGlinchey claims a “pro-fracking agenda being pushed at leading figures in the Scottish Government by companies” is a real cause for concern.

She is calling on people throughout the area and beyond to demonstrate their opposition to the controversial underground drilling practice by joining their local anti-fracking group.

She said: “There is a clear mandate for an outright ban and the longer the Scottish Government delay in giving us that ban the more acutely aware the public become that the opinion of the people of Scotland, including the government’s own grass root support, is of no consequence.”

She added: “I have attended two local anti-fracking meetings recently, one in Chryston and one in Plains.”

She said people at the meetings were horrified that shale gas exploration company Ineos had promoted fracking at the recent SNP party conference.

She added: “They are also extremely worried when they hear that the government is meeting on a regular basis with these companies who want to devastate our communities, rather than the public health experts it promised to consult.”

This comes, she said, after the announcement earlier this year that the UK Government will overrule the rejection of planning permission for fracking by the local authority in Lancashire.

She added: “There is clearly a pro-fracking agenda being pushed at leading figures in the government. I would urge everyone concerned to get in touch with their local anti-fracking group and get involved.”

A spokesperson for Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP said: “Councillor McGlinchey’s comments might have a bit more credibility were it not for the fact that former Green Party leader Robin Harper is offering his cautious backing for fracking.

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Government’s moratorium on unconventional oil and gas has been welcomed by environmental groups. No fracking can or will take place while this remains. The government has publically committed to carry out one of the world’s most in-depth research programmes into fracking and extensive public consultation.”