The Scottish Liberal Democrats will include a commitment to oppose fracking in their manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections in May as part of an ambitious programme to tackle climate change.
Last weekend at the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference, members voted to lift the moratorium on fracking and unconventional gas extraction while supporting a pre-manifesto commitment that endorses a move away from polluting fossil fuels and continued support for renewable energy.
At a meeting of the party’s Policy Committee last night, which included leader Willie Rennie MSP and energy spokesman Liam McArthur MSP, it was agreed that the party’s manifesto for May will contain a commitment to oppose fracking on climate change grounds. The change means that the SNP are now alone in not having a clear position on the matter.
Mr Rennie said: “As part of our pre-manifesto, members voted to support clean, renewable energy to protect our planet. Fracking isn’t either of those things. Allowing it in this country would harm our pursuit of a greener Scotland.
“Scotland has missed its climate change targets for the last four years. We need an energy mix that will help us cut down on emissions, not boost them. Fossil fuels will remain part of the picture for years to come but our focus must be on supporting renewables rather than increasing carbon emissions. We don't want to distract from this by opening up a whole new front of carbon-based fuels and energy production.
"Scotland needs a strong climate change policy that does not divert investment and research away from green technologies.
“Liberal Democrats have bold proposals to make sure Scotland’s energy needs are met by renewable resources that do not inflict long-lasting damage on the environment. Protecting the environment and ensuring a sustainable legacy for our children needs to be put back at the top of the agenda.
“In contrast, the SNP’s stance on fracking seems to get cloudier by the day. I am against fracking. Nicola Sturgeon needs to be clear where she stands.”