THE Scottish Green Party has warned work still needs to be done to ensure Scotland is free from the spectre of fracking.
It welcomed the Scottish Government’s extension of the moratorium on its use across the country.
But it warned it stopped short of an outright ban and called for moves to make it “watertight” against a flurry of potential challenges.
MSP Mark Ruskell, Energy and Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said the announcement from his opposite number Paul Wheelhouse did not commit to use environmental regulations and licensing powers to rule out the technology for good.
He said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s clear intention to ban fracking. That is a victory for communities across Scotland and the wider green movement.
“However, we are still a long way from turning a planning moratorium into a watertight ban that can resist legal challenge from powerful companies like INEOS.
“The Scottish Government must commit using a combination of powers over planning, environmental regulation and licensing to deliver a permanent ban.
“They must bring this back to the Scottish Parliament to be voted on after recess.”
The Greens tried to have a ban implemented before in 2014, but it was defeated in a Holyrood vote.
And he added: “Greens have opposed all forms of unconventional gas extraction from the start, and over the years we’ve stood with communities against the threat of dangerous and unnecessary drilling.
“Today we see a step in the right direction from a government that has sat on the fence long enough.
“The risks to public health, the safety of workers, and the damage to our reputation as a climate change leader have been clear all along.
“Greens have been leading this fight, with other parties changing their position when they saw the strength of public feeling.”
The call for legislation matches similar warnings from Friends of the Earth Scotland and other campaigners.
A debate on the announcement is expected later this month.
Want to learn more? Read: Scottish Green Party – Our future prosperity lies with the low carbon economy