Campaigners in Bo’ness are joining with communities across central Scotland to fight plans for gas extraction.
An alliance has been forged between groups in Bo’ness, Falkirk, Glenrothes, Portobello and Cumbernauld.
And representatives from these and other pressure groups came together in a peaceful demonstration outside INEOS petro-chemical plant on Sunday.
Speaking on behalf of the demonstrators, Maria Montinaro said: “What most people do not realise is the scale of these proposals and the impact on the local environment.
“For example, in respect of exploration licence PEDL 133 – which covers 330 square kilometres of the district – INEOS would need to drill 1300 wells, 600 for coal bed methane and some 700 for shale gas.
“There would be a huge impact on the environment and, at the moment, there is no requirement to consider the impact on public health that this exploration and extraction might pose.”
Maria also scorned suggestions that the Scottish Government was willing to play hardball with INEOS or any other player in the ‘fracking’ field.
She said: “The Scottish Government had the opportunity to stop this in its tracks and it does appear to be taking a harder line than Westminster.
“But it is forcing local authorities to deal with this issue and, at a time when councils are being asked to make huge savings, they won’t be able to afford to fight every application for fracking.”
She added: “I was delighted with the positive response to Sunday’s demo because it showed there was a broad alliance forming to fight these proposals.”
Gary Haywood, chief executive of INEOS Upstream, said: “We are completely committed to safe shale gas extraction.
“The company is internationally known for safely running huge petro-chemical plants and has hired some of the world’s leading shale gas experts to ensure all developments are safe.”
Madelene Hunt, Bo’ness Community Council convener, said fracking would likely be on the agenda at a bi-annual meeting of community councils in January.