19th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Ask us first Alistair! (Angela Sutherland)

Scotland can and does already generate more energy than it needs, so to me fracking in Scotland is all about corporate greed.

We all know fracking has been shown to cause CO2 emissions and pollute ground water in the USA, where the public are now successfully working to ban it. Why would we want to risk damage to our land when its not necessary?

MP Alistair Carmichael voted against a temporary ban on issuing licenses for fracking in Westminster last Monday while the Scottish government voted for a halt a few days later.

In what way is Mr Carmichael doing his job as the Secretary of Scotland, representing the will of the Scottish people in Westminster, when he is so often, blatantly, going against our wishes?

Is he incompetent in not finding out our opinion before he votes, or is the “Con Dem” party more important to him than the people who voted for him?

Angela Sutherland
34 Kalliness,
Weisdale.

10 comments

  1. Robin Barclay

    The debate about fracking is full of disingenuous information and political hypocrisy. In an effort to discourage or ban fracking because it will produce hydrocarbons which will contribute to CO2 production, all manner of misinformation is being spread by the green lobby about its safety and possible contamination of groundwater which numerous reports have found to be unfounded provided it is carried out properly and within a rigorous set of rules which are properly monitored. The environmentalists should clearly distinguish between their objection to CO2 production, which may well be justified, and the improper stirring up of public concern on safety grounds which are based on dubious anecdotes which contradict the evidence so far and yet are beginning to convince the public.
    This is in danger of going the way of GM where the issue around Monsanto’s ban on the re-use of its genetically improved seed without expensive licence dues clouded triggered an argument around GM and misinformation was fed which engendered a misconception on the safety of GM in the public view. It says a lot on our level of general scientific education and ability to question the “information” we are fed that on fracking and GM the public can be led so easily into taking unquestioning views based on misinformation put out by lobby groups, however well intentioned. It is also a shame that many journalists are equally poorly informed and even where they know better some look for sensationalism rather than a balanced objective view.
    I am not at all sure whether the shale gas produced by fracking is intended for energy production. As far as I understand, Ineos is investing in Grangemouth to use shale gas as the feedstock for the chemical industry and will import gas from the USA. This is a hugely significant employer in the Scottish economy, and contributes to the production and development of modern materials (and if you greens are not sympathetic, just take a look through your modern outdoor garments to realise how dependent we are on such products).
    However it cannot be claimed that we are energy sufficient, not even at the Scottish level far less UK level (and you did vote for retention of the Union, so it is the UK level that counts), and even if we clad our hills with windmills, including Shetland, what will you do on a still, cold winters night when there is no wind? There needs to be other means to generate electricity. Currently most of UK electricity production comes from gas-fired generation following the “dash for gas”. Since nobody has planned for when the gas runs out, the UK is now importing most of its gas, and will become increasingly reliant on imports unless an alternative is found. Politicians know this, and know that they have to consider the opportunity provided by shale gas reserves. However, approaching an election and in the face of hostile public opinion based mostly on false premises, politicians are, for now, rushing to appear to take an anti-fracking stance to get your vote. This is hypocrisy. They mostly know the scientific and economic arguments support fracking, despite what the public has come to think, and that they cannot afford to ignore this on the other side of the election, yet they will not come out and say it directly.
    It would be far more realistic if the public demanded assurances that if fracking goes ahead, which is very likely, the monitoring of it will be adequate and properly resourced, and in the public domain – not hidden behind proprietary agreements with the licensee companies. It is important to at least ensure that no toxic substances are used in these processes (I don’t think any are), and that groundwater levels are maintained and left as they were before the process.
    It would also be important to introduce some scheme whereby those living where fracking takes place could benefit from it. The crown owns the mineral rights below our feet, as far as I understand, and would benefit from the licenses granted. I would rather be a “citizen” and that the “state” owned these rights – but aren’t those just words and, in effect, mean the same thing? While I am a native Shetlander I live in Midlothian, and around here the land is riddled with old coal mine workings, some preceding any records, and most benefiting the various landowning families where the mineheads were located – up until coal was nationalised. Since the Crown is the license granter, do we not all benefit to some extent (and that before any taxes are levied)?
    Furthermore, if fracking is properly carried out it will not be as damaging to the rock strata as mining, yet we live fairly comfortably with the results of mining and tunneling, with the occasional exception. The process will be less polluting than agricultural run-off, or many industrial processes that SEPA has made substantial progress in controlling. There is no reason that given the proper regulatory regime and resources SEPA can not adequately monitor shale gas extraction – and that regime, its funding, and its transparency should be what we voters should be focusing on.
    There are no simple answers, but don’t climb blindly on any political or pressure-group bandwagon.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Thanks, Robin, outstanding article. Pity it isn’t a “Sounding Off” piece.

      Reply
  2. Steven Jarmson

    Angela, the duty of an MP,MSP, councillor or community councillor is actually not vote for what people think or want, its to vote as they see fit in place of having a referendum over every issue.
    Even when there is a referendum those who organised it and set the rules cant accept the result!!!
    I’m not Tory or Lib Dem, but Carmichael is doing his job by voting however he sees fit.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Steven, you will find that leading up to the general election the SNP have no real policies to attract voters, therefore their tactics will involve slagging of the sitting MP to discredit him in order to generate more support for themselves. Recent letters in the Shetland Times and on Shetland News will verify this.

      You will find that the SNP are actually in favour of fracking but to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate, including their own followers. They have introduced a moratorium on fracking which is in fact a suspension only and will probably be effective until after the general election.

      Reply
      • Robin Barclay

        I think you will find that no party except the Greens have said they are anti-fracking. Most have just “put off” making a decision (probably until after elections – not as they say “until there is more information available” since there is sufficient information available – and it supports fracking safety). Only the Tories are openly for it, the rest dissemble. I am not a supporter far less member of any party – I like to keep my options open. None are that honest because they fear if they spell out the truth nobody will vote for them, but they rarely tell an outright lie for fear of getting caught out, so read between the lines. There is going to be a lot of mud slung between Labour and SNP in Scotland, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Labour are looking increasingly desperate, so what they say needs to be carefully examined. The other parties are largely irrelevant in Scotland, and who gets elected from them will probably be largely on personal rather than party political support. There will be a lot more weasel words coming our way in the next three months.

      • Steven Jarmson

        Yip Gordon, I did figure the SNP lacked any actual policies.
        Even in the run up the referendum they lacked ideas, their “positive” agenda consisted of saying anything anyone else said was scaremongering and lies.
        I truly hope the gNats don’t get any influence in the forthcoming Parliament as we here in Shetland and Scotland can expect the SNP to try to rile the English in to anti-Scottish stance which they hope will lead to a rise in anti-English sentiments here and thus they hope they get divide and conquer.
        Its pathetic really.

  3. iantinkler

    This man Ewing beggars belief. He calls for a Moratorium on Fracking for Scotland at the same time he advocates and promotes the destruction of rural Scotland with endless wind turbines. Only a totally scientific ignoramus cannot see fracking is infinitely cleaner and far less hazardous than offshore oil production which Ewing so promotes at every opportunity. I believe a politician such as this is actually a menace. Blind ignorance and a devotion almost to the point of religious zealotry for a pseudo green agenda can do Scotland immense harm. I just hope the electorate wakes up to the utter stupidly this man Ewing displays in his actions and rabid chase for votes. Just so typical of the SNP, do anything to undermine Westminster at any cost to us all.

    Reply
  4. Gordon Harmer

    PROFESSOR PAUL YOUNGER, WHO SAT ON A SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PANEL EXAMINING FRACKING, SAID MINISTERS “COMPLETELY FEIGNED” THE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS THEY USED TO JUSTIFY THE BAN.
    SNP ministers are deliberately misleading the Scottish public by pretending their fracking ban is about health and environmental concerns instead of political posturing, an expert they asked to research the controversial practice has said.

    In a damning intervention, Professor Paul Younger, Ranking Chair of Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said the Scottish Government’s justifications for unveiling an indefinite moratorium on fracking were “all made up” and “completely feigned”.

    He said Scottish ministers had lavished praise on a report they ordered last year by his “expert scientific panel”, which concluded there were no significant technological barriers to developing fracking and that it could be conducted safely.

    But he said he felt “completely violated as a professional” following the announcement of the ban and accused the SNP of treating the issue as a “political football” ahead of the general election.

    Not only that but the SNP government have not ruled out coal gasification in coal mines under the Firth of Forth. This dangerous and untried and untested method of gas extraction has been left out of the moratorium. Just like Brian Nugent, the SNP must think that the rest of us are a few tins short of a six pack.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Absolutely, Gordon.

      After formally objecting to the UK government’s proposal to allow fracking, UK-wide, the SNP have now introduced this moratorium on shale gas exploitation in Scotland, something which could have contributed handomely to reducing fuel poverty in Scotland.

      Faced with the desperate “heat or eat” dilemma, many fuel poor take the decision to “heat” and head for the food banks to “eat”. Yet the SNP lambast the Westminster government over both fuel poverty and the need for food banks.

      Pure humbug.

      Reply
  5. iantinkler

    So utterly typical. The SNP under Sturgeon with Ewing hanging onto her petty coats decide on a Moratorium on fracking. Now filthy, coal fired, Longannet, is threatened with closure and Sturgeon runs squealing to Cameron, frightened by the threat to Scotland electricity supply. It is hard to truly believe the SNP with all their hype on wind power and green energy could be so wholly stupid and contradictory (coal is ten times more polluting than fracked gas). Just imagine the state we would be in if the referendum vote had been Yes. You just could not make it up! http://www.bbc.com/news/?ocid=global-news-pinned-ie9

    Reply

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.