Residents raise fracking fears

Momentum is growing among community campaigners concerned about the impacts of proposed fracking developments in Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs.

Worried locals, who fear plans to introduce the controversial technique to East Dunbartonshire may have a catastrophic impact on the environment, have come together to put pressure on politicians to keep fracking out of the area.

Campaigners gathered for a lively discussion at Bishopbriggs Library last Wednesday, October29 to thrash out how best to take the issue to a wider audience and get answers from decision makers.

Dominic Notorangelo, chairman of Bishopbriggs Community Council, said the issue has galvanised the community.

He said: “This campaign isn’t simply about rejecting fracking on our doorstep or moving the problem elsewhere - this is something which should concern everybody, no matter where they live. Even although these are still very early days, there are a lot of protesting voices out there - especially those of young people - and we need to make sure that all these voices are heard.

“Wednesday’s meeting allowed us to build the foundations of our strategy, before a much larger public meeting takes place on Wednesday, November 19 from 7pm-9pm in Bishopbriggs Academy.

“We’ve invited representatives from all the major political parties to attend and we hope they will be able to join us.”

The campaign has established itself online with a new Facebook page - which had already attracted hundreds of ‘likes’ within days of being set up - but Mr Notarangelo stressed that maintaining the campaign’s ongoing enthusiasm and energy is vital:

He added: “We’re putting our heads above the parapet now, but there’s a lot to be done, especially in terms of connecting with other groups and activists across the country.”

The contentious issue has caused uproar across Scotland - an online petition calling for a total ban has garnered thousands of signatures, while scores of protest groups have been formed across East Dunbartonshire and beyond.

Owen McNeil of East Dunbartonshire Against Unconventional Gas Extraction (EDAUGE), said that working together was key: “EDAUGE acts as an umberella group to help and advise, but this movement is very much about groups of politically engaged, local activists coming together.”

North Lanarkshire’s Cumbernauld South councillor, Paddy Hogg, has worked extensively with anti-fracking protest groups in his own constituency, has pledged his ‘full support’ to the people of Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs, while national and international environmental action groups have also added their voices to the debate.

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “People’s movements around the world are stalling the advance of unconventional gas with the number of regional and national bans and moratoriums increasing.

“We urge the Scottish Government to listen to the concerns of Scottish people and to use their existing powers to stop unconventional gas drilling and fracking in Scotland.”