Labour To Launch Bill To Ban Fracking In Scotland

4 November 2016, 06:18 | Updated: 4 November 2016, 06:19

Labour has vowed to ''change the law to ban fracking in Scotland'', ahead of formally launching a Bill to outlaw the controversial practice.

The party's environment and climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish will announce her Member's Bill calling for a ban outside Holyrood on Friday, and will launch a public consultation on the proposal.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Ms Beamish said: ''This is about Scotland's future, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the condition we leave our planet in for our children and our grandchildren.

''Labour will change the law to ban fracking in Scotland. The climate science and evidence is clear - the last thing we need is another fossil fuel. We need to fulfil Scotland's renewables potential and we can't do that if we allow fracking in our communities.

''Scotland relying on fracking for our energy needs will lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to clean energy.

''SNP ministers now face an urgent choice - they can work with Labour to ban fracking, or they can work with the Tories to allow drilling under family homes in parts of central Scotland.''

The Scottish Government announced a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas extraction in January 2015, which remains in place as ministers consider the evidence.

Jim Ratcliffe, chief executive of chemicals giant Ineos which has fracking exploration licences for Scotland, claims shale gas extraction could transform communities blighted by a collapse in manufacturing - but Friends of the Earth Scotland and other campaigners against the practice say fracking will ''harm the environment''.

Labour's announcement is made on the day a global agreement to tackle climate change takes effect.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the ratifying of the Paris Agreement marks a ''landmark day in the global fight against climate change''.

She said: ''The first legally-binding agreement is now in force, which aims to hold global temperature rise this century to well below 2C and to pursue efforts to limit the rise even further to 1.5C.

''This is a significant step forward for collective global effort to tackle climate change and help protect our environment and planet for future generations.

''The Scottish Government will continue to progress our world-leading, low-carbon ambitions which saw us exceed our 2020 emissions reductions target six years early.''

She added that she will set out the Government's proposals for its domestic climate change plan to Parliament in January.