Gearing up to fight any fracking in Clydesdale

An anti-fracking gala day in South Lanarkshire.
An anti-fracking gala day in South Lanarkshire.

The prospect that Clydesdale might be a prime target for fracking was first flagged up by the Green Party over two years ago, and now a campaign has been launched in a bid to ensure it never becomes a reality.

In 2013, the Gazette reported Green Party concerns that the Carnwath, Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax area’s massive shale oil industry of the Victorian era had alerted businesses involved in extracting gas from the mineral to the potential of large deposits of shale remaining under the Clydesdale landscape.

Now those opposed to the controversial gas-extraction method are organising their resistance to any moves to introduce fracking operations locally, starting with a rally and film screening in Kirkmuirhill later this month.

South Lanarkshire Against Unconventional Gas (SLAUG) was formed last year to try to persuade the Scottish Government never to lift its current temporary freeze on further applications to carry out fracking operations north of the border, but the UK Government has decided against any such freeze.

The SLAUG Clydesdale campaign is being launched at Kirkmuirhill’s Thornton Road Community Centre at 7.15pm on Tuesday, September 27.

At that event, a film will be shown in which the group makes claims that fracking could be a disaster for the environment and even dangerous for local residents.

Said SLAUG spokesman John Young this week: “We have been going around communities throughout the summer showing this film and promoting the group’s campaign against fracking in Scotland.

“This is an issue that potentially affects the whole of South Lanarkshire if the fracking moratorium is removed.

“This event will allow people to see the impact of fracking in the USA and will allow them to understand what we have to do to prevent it destroying our communities here in Scotland.

“After the show, we will have an open discussion on the impact of fracking on people, lives, health and the economy.”

Those backing fracking have accused groups such as the Green Party and SLAUG of scaremongering, citing a guide to shale gas by the Energy Insitute which they claim is unbiased and balanced.

The institute’s chief executive, Louise Kingdom, said: “Our survey among energy professionals highlighted the need for the energy industry to improve its communication with the public.

“Shale gas requires greater explanation, with the survey showing it as the single most poorly communicated topic on the energy spectrum.

“With this publication, we want to promote better understanding between the sector and wider society, to present facts from an independent perspective and to help people make informed decisions on energy matters.”

The guide can be viewed via knowledge.energyinst.org/collections/shale-gas