Claire welcomes fracking ban

Today I questioned the Energy Minister as he announced that the current moratorium on fracking will be extended indefinitely.

As a long time campaigner against fracking in my region welcome this move, however it still stops short of an outright ban. I’ve been campaigning against fracking and UCG locally since 2012 and I will continue to support any efforts to introduce a full legislative ban.

I do not believe that the potential risks to public health and the environment have been addressed and I believe that the exploitation of another fossil fuel will hamper our climate change priorities. Continue reading

Time for a frack free Fife

Following the successful campaign to have underground coal gasification banned in Fife and across Scotland I have today called for the Scottish Government to back plans to ban fracking in Scotland and ensure a “frack free Fife”.

The banning of UCG was only the first step. Now the Scottish Government must work with Scottish Labour in banning fracking. Anything less is unacceptable.

All evidence points to the fact that fracking, yet another fossil fuel, will have a negative impact on our environment. It is an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that has no place in Fife.

This is about the air we breathe, that water we drink and the communities we live in. That is why Labour will change the law and ban fracking in Scotland, just as we promised in our election manifesto.

My colleague Claudia Beamish MSP, has launched a consultation to ban the continuous process in Scotland and I would encourage everyone to put forward a submission to the consultation and unite behind calls for a frack free Fife.

Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament passed a motion calling for such a ban. The motion was passed due to Labour votes as a result of the SNP abstaining. The Scottish Government must listen to locals and community groups, the very people that will be impacted by the potential of drilling under their homes.

It is time for a frack free Fife.

Claudia Beamish’s consultation paper can be found at https://frackingbanbill.com/

The public can respond to the consultation here: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Fracking/

Claire welcomes UCG ban

After first raising concerns over Underground Coal Gasification in 2013, I’m delighted that today it was announced UCG has no place in Scotland.

It was clear from the outset that this was an unnecessary and environmentally damaging process that had no place in the region.

I was pleased when my successful call to have UCG include in a moratorium was accepted last year and that research has now left the Scottish Government with no option but to rule UCG out.

Whilst Fife will no longer be a guinea-pig for UCG, this can only be the first step. The Scottish Government must now come out and ban fracking so once and for all we can have a Frack Free Fife.

You can read more here.

 

Claire calls for Fife MSPs to vote for a ‘Frack Free Fife’

Tomorrow the Scottish Parliament can vote for a ban on fracking in Scotland after Scottish Labour submitted an amendment to a Government motion that calls for the ban to be introduced.

I have been campaigning for some time for a Frack Free Fife and this week offers the perfect opportunity for all Fife politicians to unite behind that goal.

Currently the Scottish Government has stopped short of implanting a full ban on fracking, introducing a moratorium (a short term pause) on the process instead. This is despite repeated calls from Scottish Labour, the Lib-Dems and the Green’s for an outright ban.

The Scottish Government can take decisive action against UCG and fracking in Fife and we know that from community groups, to national environmental organisations, to Fife Council there is support for an outright ban. Continue reading

BiFab meet in Parliament to raise concerns

Today I was pleased to welcome workers and trade union representatives from BiFab to meet with MSPs from all parties to discuss the future of the yard.

Previously I have raised and discussed with the Government fears over the yards future as it competes for contracts. It is vital that we all work together to secure the future of the yards and workforce in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish.

I was pleased to welcome Richard Leonard, Michael Sullivan, Alan Ritchie and Gary Smith from GMB and Bob McGregor from Unite to hear workers concerns.

Longannet Power Station Statement

On Thursday the Energy Minister delivered a statement on the future of Longannet Power Station in the Scottish Parliament.

Following the statement I was able to ask a question about the future of the site and warn about the impact of further job losses to the local economy, particularly on the back of the recent announcement of redundancies at Havelock Europa.

I will be raising the job losses at Havelock Europa on Wednesday during Finance Question.

In the meantime you can watch the statement on the video below. The statement starts 46 mins 30 seconds into the video and my question starts at 1 hour 12 minutes and 50 seconds.

You can also read my question here.

Government must commit to Fife Energy Park during Fife visit

The news confirming that Samsung are pulling out of Methil is another massive blow to the local Levenmouth economy and to the future of Fife Energy Park. Samsung’s pullout takes with them the promise of 500 jobs made by former First Minister Alex Salmond and follows fears of potential job losses at Burntisland Fabrications, (BiFab).On Monday (6th July) the Scottish Government will be visiting Fife to hold a cabinet meeting and I have called for them to visit Fife Energy Park during their trip and respond to concerns of the workforce over the park’s future.

Announcing the trip, the First Minister said these visits were the opportunity for the Scottish Government to learn about the important issues affecting locals. If the First Minister is serious about listening to concerns of locals then she will agree to visit the park, less than 30 minutes away. Continue reading

UCG concerns must be heard by Scottish Government

I have called for the Scottish Government to bring forward their proposed consultation on unconventional gas and fracking. The current delay is leaving the people of Fife and Mid Scotland voiceless as plans for underground coal gasification (UCG) continue in the area.  

In January, following pressure from campaigners, the Scottish Government announced that it was bringing forward a moratorium on granting future consents on unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland. At the same time they announced plans to hold a public consultation.

However we are 5 months on and a consultation has still to be published. Meanwhile proposals for UCG are continuing and people across Mid Scotland and Fife are not being given the opportunity they need to voice their concerns. Continue reading

It’s time for a frack free Fife

It’s time for a frack free Fife and that is why I am backing calls from Scottish Labour for a triple lock system to guard against fracking in Scotland. 

Under plans announced by Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour will use the new powers from the Smith Commission to stop fracking in Scotland. This move would stop Fife being a “test bed” for the controversial process.

I have long been campaigning both in Fife and the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Government to take action against fracking. I have called for robust national guidelines and the introduction of buffer zones.

I’ve always been clear though that this was only the start as the decision on fracking in Scotland rests ultimately with the Scottish Government and should take into account the concerns of locals. Continue reading

Claire to debate Greener Kirkcaldy in Parliament

Local organisation Greener Kirkcaldy will this week be debated in the Scottish Parliament as Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker secured an opportunity to discuss the Fife based charity.

The charity helps locals take action to ensure environmental issues are being tackled both at home and in the wider community.

The organisation has ran initiatives such as Shine on Fife and Cosy Kirkcaldy with a consultation on plans for a community food hub currently running.

Continue reading