Ex-Leader Slams SNP's 'Cowardly' Ban on Fracking; Poor Families Will Freeze, Warns Sillars

Daily Mail (London), October 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

Ex-Leader Slams SNP's 'Cowardly' Ban on Fracking; Poor Families Will Freeze, Warns Sillars


Byline: Rachel Watson Deputy Scottish Political Editor

A FORMER SNP deputy leader has launched a scathing attack on the party's 'cowardly' decision to ban fracking, describing the move as 'total madness'.

Jim Sillars yesterday claimed that thousands of families across Scotland will suffer a freezing winter in a bid to cut their energy bills - a plight that the Scottish Government could have stopped.

He said that he was willing to lead a challenge against the 'nonsensical' ban announced earlier this week.

Hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as fracking - involves pumping water at high pressure into rock, forcing it to crack and release gas.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced a ban this week on the use of the technique - despite the Scottish Government's own research showing it could bring 3,100 jobs and PS6.5billion of investment.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon emphasised her stance on outlawing the process, saying: 'Fracking is being banned in Scotland, end of story.' But Mr Sillars believes that the First Minister has bowed to pressure in a move that could leave thousands of families unable to heat their homes.

He said: 'I wouldn't like to be the person from Labour or the SNP who knocks on doors in the middle of deprived areas and tells them we have gas, but you will have to freeze.' Describing how he knows from his childhood what it feels like to 'live in a house without proper heating' he said he believed the SNP should be doing everything possible to prevent youngsters from living in 'freezing' homes.

The decision to ban fracking was likely to do the opposite, he added, and could 'profoundly' affect families and the economy.

Mr Sillars said: 'The damage has been done and the situation is that poorer families will freeze in their homes this winter while rich farmers coin it in for having wind turbines on their land - millions for no other reason than having turbines. …

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