‘Time out’ plea on fracking

Fracking is a big talking point
Fracking is a big talking point

West Lothian Council has agreed to request a moratorium on hydraulic fracking, used to extract oil and gas from shale beds.

The council noted no guidance has been issued to Scotland’s local authorities with regard to the relationship between fracking and public health.

In addition, the council noted several European countries have either banned or imposed a moratorium on the controversial technique of extracting oil or gas.

With its shale oil extraction history, West Lothian may be a key location for fracking.

There are fears fracking, which sees high powered water mixed with sand and chemicals to blast the rock to release gas, could lead to subsidence and depress house prices in affected areas.

A spokeswoman for West Lothian Council said: “The council is opposed to fracking and has agreed to write to the Scottish Government to request a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until the full impact of hydraulic fracking is understood.”

But Linlithgow SNP councillor, and prospective MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Martyn Day said the outcome of the debate fell far short of what he had sought.

Councillor Day said: “Labour voted down attempts to use the developing planning policy as a way of ensuring a presumption against fracking when considering applications and also ruled out West Lothian Council as a landowner not providing any permissions or consents sought from any company and/or agents applying for permission to carry out exploratory or full fracking operations on any council owned land in West Lothian.”