The UK Government have announced that they are to remove the rights of householders to object to oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing beneath their homes. This will include householders in Scotland, and comes despite 99 per cent of respondents to the UK Government consultation on the proposals objecting to them.
It will mean that companies will be allowed to drill below people’s land without first negotiating a right of access.
The Scottish Government officially objected to the proposals and has condemned the decision, and has called for the key powers relating to this issue to be devolved to Scotland as part of the current devolution process. This would allow unconventional oil and gas exploration in Scotland to be considered in a cautious, considered and evidence-based way, as opposed to the “gung-ho” approach of the UK Government.
Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:
“The UK Government failure to listen to the concerns of many of my constituents, particularly in Larbert and Stenhousemuir is of great worry. That they have also failed to listen to 99 per cent of respondents to their own consultation just emphasises their “gung-ho” approach to the whole issue of fracking. I strongly believe that decisions on oil and gas drilling should be made by the people who live in Scotland, through the Parliament and Government they elected.
“UK Government proposals to remove the right of local householders to object to drilling under their homes, without so much as debate in the Scottish Parliament, flies in the face of the Scottish Government’s cautious, considered and evidence based approach on this issue. It is also fundamentally an issue affecting land ownership rights.
“Whatever your view on the issue of unconventional oil and gas – and it is clear that there are both opportunities and concerns – there is only one way that the people of Scotland can determine the approach in Scotland – including beneath their homes and land. That is with the devolution of the necessary powers to Scotland and the current devolution process for the “extensive new powers” promised in the vow should include these powers.