1 – NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!
You can do any or all of these:
– Write to every one of the 56 SNP Westminster MPs
– Write to your SNP MSPs, both Constituency-, and list- MSPs.
Just follow the link and input your postcode: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/postcode/)
or here is another super easy page for you to email your SNP MSP’s and MPs.
Please use it and share it, just 2 minutes of your time!
– SNP members, Write to your Branch Organiser
– Write a personal letter to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Call on each and every one of them to:
– Accurately represent your views, and your opposition to Unconventional Gas.
– Fulfil their promises to protect the environment, and the health of Scottish communities , both now and into the future.
– Keep their promises to move away from fossil fuels, and promote renewables.
– Protect Our Forth from Underground Coal Gasification.
The only way to avoid the threats posed by UG, is for the Scottish Government to ban it.
SNP are currently in government, and potentially even stronger after 2016 Elections.
If SNP can be persuaded to debate this issue at their October 2015 Conference, and a Resolution is approved to introduce a permanent Ban, this then becomes Party policy, and will become a Manifesto promise for the May 2016 election.
If SNP continue to avoid debate at the 2015 Conference, BA must exploit and build on the inevitable tensions/ frustrations of SNP members/Elected representatives between October ’15 and May ’16.
Every SNP Candidate for the 2016 Holyrood Election needs to know that THOUSANDS of local people will consider UG and UCG as a deal-breaker in deciding who to vote for,
Please share widely, and encourage your members and supporters to ACT NOW!
The Politics of Unconventional Gas:
It is crucial for Scottish communities to understand the politics of Unconventional Gas extraction, in order to consider how we can most effectively influence policy makers within the Scottish Government.
Organisers of SNP Annual Conference cannot have failed to have noticed pressure building in respect of their “fence-sitting” stance on UG.
a) There is evidence of pressure on Scottish Government from those such as INEOS and Cluff ,seeking to cash in: http://www.desmog.uk/2015/04/10/why-did-scotland-s-first-minister-meet-pro-fracking-firm-ineos-same-day-scotland-announced-moratorium:: http://www.senscot.net/view_art.php?viewid=19360
b) But pressure is also growing inside the Party: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13507248.Local_SNP_branches_join_push_for_party_to_adopt_blanket_fracking_ban/ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13504807.SNP_trade_unionists_in_push_for_party_to_adopt_total_fracking_ban/
There is growing support amongst grassroots and Trades Union SNP members, for a permanent Ban on onshore Unconventional Gas and UCG, and impatience with continuing SG prevarication.
A number of local SNP Branches had submitted Resolutions to the Party Conference in Aberdeen in October calling for a permanent Ban on unconventional gas extraction, as well as for UCG to be included in the current moratorium.
However, despite this, the issue is NOT adequately addressed in the Draft agenda for the October 2015 SNP Conference, (decided by an internal party committee, and already circulated to members).
It does include a resolution that asks ministers to consider extending a moratorium to include underground coal gasification (UCG) projects, although “.. the fact remains that there are no technical reasons why Scottish Ministers could not simply extend their moratorium to include UCG right now.” D.Sanderson, Herald 2/8/15
More radical motions, such as one by the SNP’s trade union branch calling for a total ban on unconventional oil and gas developments including fracking, have been left off the draft agenda.
So…. for local communities, and those groups actively concerned about the potentially devastating impacts of onshore and near-shore unconventional exploration, it is crucial that politicians, and Party organisers hear from YOU!
2 – SNP MEMBERS
Are you an SNP member? Are you concerned about fracking, UCG in the Forth and other forms of unconventional gas? Then you can help the campaign.
The SNP conference provides a good opportunity for grassroots members to influence policy. Unfortunately it also provides a good opportunity for lobbyists employed by the Energy vultures to influence policy and big money is being spent.
The SNP are only going to strengthen their position on Uncoventional Gas if pushed to do it by their membership and constituents.
The next month is therefore critical for SNP members to make their voices heard.
What you can do—
– Join SMAUG – SNP Members Against Unconventional Gas, a new anti-fracking campaign within the SNP launched 17/9/15. Contact Iain Black 07581354471 or join on Facebook here
– See if your branch is up for passing an anti-UCG/fracking motions
– Get your branch to discuss its view on the weak motion that is going to the SNP conference in October and any amendments that are being proposed
“Conference supports the Scottish Government’s moratorium on ‘Fracking’.
Conference notes that companies involved in unconventional gas extraction continue to pursue plans in Scotland including a ‘community’ of 15 wells in the Firth of Forth.
Conference calls on the Scottish Government to consider extending the current moratorium on ‘Fracking’ to include the technologies used in underground coal gasification and unconventional gas extraction.
Conference further calls on the Scottish Government to reaffirm its commitment to reduce the use of fossil fuels in its energy mix by continuing to support and develop renewable sources of energy.”
– See if you can speak for you branch or you can identify some-one else in the branch who will make a strong speech in that debate
– If the branch is unhappy about the motion and having a weak position at the conference, let SNP HQ know this and let them know that you want
1) Underground Coal Gasification to be immediately included in the Scottish Government Moratorium on Unconventional Gas Extraction.
2) This Moratorium to become a complete ban on Unconventional Gas Extraction in Scotland.
3) A 2km buffer zone between any Unconventional Gas developments and communities be set to take immediate effect, irrespective of any decision taken in the future by the Scottish Government.
3 – HELP CLOSE THE MORATORIUM LOOPHOLE.
Action – write to Fergus Ewing. Deadline a.s.a.p.
The Moratorium on planning permission for unconventional gas in Scotland does not cover Underground Coal Gasification, according to Fergus Ewing, despite him saying in parliament in 2013 that this process (whether ‘offshore’ or not) IS subject to the usual planning permissions within Scottish Government powers.
If you are concerned about underground coal gasification within our riverside communities and under our seabed, you might want to consider writing to Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG or email scottish.ministers@ scotland.gsi.gov.uk and address the email to him in the subject line.
It’s really important that you write this in your own words, so that he understands the full scale of public opinion. Appreciating that access to accurate information is quite difficult to find, to help here is a list of evidence which was compiled by the Our Forth community group:
*When Claire Baker MSP asked you during your Ministerial Statement, whether the moratorium you announced would apply to UCG you indicated that it would not, saying that ‘the powers that we possess apply to onshore planning activities. As the member will know, they don’t not apply to offshore activities, such as those that I believe would be covered by UCG.’
*However, the Firth of Forth is classed as ‘onshore’ until a line between approximately Elie and North Berwick, since:
*The Petroleum (Production) (Landward Areas) Regulations 1995 sets out definition of landward/onshore and hence what’s covered by PEDL license. Specifically for the Forth: NT496864 Eyebroughy to NT496993 Elie Ness.
*This is explicitly referenced in BGS report dated 14 December 2014, THE CARBONIFEROUS SHALES OF THE MIDLAND VALLEY OF SCOTLAND: GEOLOGY AND RESOURCE ESTIMATION’ ‘The Forth Estuary and Firth of Forth were included to just offshore of the ‘bay closing line’ where the distinction between ‘onshore’ and offshore’ is made for UK licensing purposes. The Firth of Forth has been included in the resource estimation for this study, though it is not currently included in a Strategic Environmental Assessment and so cannot be offered in the 14th UK Onshore Licensing Round.’
*Furthermore, in response to Claire Baker’s parliamentary question S4W-16783 you stated that ‘Potential UCG operators who have been granted a licence from the UK Coal Authority cannot commence activities in Scotland until other rights and permissions covering the various elements involved’ are met. You continue to say that ‘any development proposal onshore, concerning onshore or offshore underground coal gasification would require planning permission along with the relevant SEPA licenses and permits before activities can begin in Scotland.’
*In offshore gas extraction, there is onshore infrastructure which requires planning permission.
*Why do you assert that these aspects of UCG wouldn’t be included within the Scottish Government’s statement and the principle therein of safeguarding public health, if they are within Government powers?