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    Scottish Government Should Listen to 'Rank-and-File' Over Fracking

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    According to an independent Member of the Scottish Parliament and former SNP member, the Scottish Government and SNP leadership don't reflect massive opposition to fracking in Scotland in general and particularly within the rank-and-file SNP.

    Nicola Sturgeon reacts as she is formally announced as the new Scottish National Party (SNP) leader at the party conference in Perth November 14, 2014
    © REUTERS / Cathal McNaughton
    EDINBURGH, January 21 (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – The leadership of the Scottish National Party (SNP) are not reflecting "rank-and-file" opposition to fracking in Scotland, an independent Member of the Scottish Parliament and former SNP member has told Sputnik.

    "There is massive opposition to fracking in Scotland in general and particularly within the rank-and-file SNP, but regrettably the Scottish Government and SNP leadership don't reflect that," John Finnie told Sputnik, adding that SNP would have supported Scottish Green Party's call for a fracking ban if they were opposed to it.

    The parliamentarian, who left the SNP over their decision to support NATO membership if Scotland became independent, added that his former party could still do the right thing next week when a crucial vote will take place at the House of Commons, lower house of the UK Parliament.

    Green MP Caroline Lucan hopes her amendment to the Infrastructure Bill will allow Scottish Ministers in the devolved SNP administration to take control of onshore gas licensing, that would allow them to block fracking permits.

    "It's not too late for the SNP to do the right thing," Finnie told Sputnik. "I urge them to listen to the people, not to mention the health and environment experts, and protect Scotland from fracking."

    Finnie stated that this can be achieved by voting for the Infrastructure Bill amendment next week, "announcing that when they take over responsibility for onshore gas licensing, they will not issue any permits to frack Scotland."

    Mary Church, Head of Campaigns with the environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth told Sputnik next week's vote will prove a test of the SNP's commitment to greener forms of energy.

    "To be a real world-leader on climate, the Scottish Government must leave unconventional gas where it is and focus instead on making the most of our abundant renewables potential," Church added.

    In a statement, issued Wednesday, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie urged the Scottish Government to "come off the fence on fracking" and join the Greens' call for a moratorium on the industry.

    Earlier Lancashire County Council in England recommended the refusal of an application by shale gas company Cuadrilla to extract gas using the controversial fracking method at a site in Blackpool. The company described the development as a setback.

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