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Fracking ban under consideration in Labour plans for Climate Change Bill

Fracking operations in the UK Photo: Danny Lawson/PA

Labour plans to amend new climate change legislation at the Scottish Parliament, including looking at writing in a fracking ban.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill will face its first parliamentary hurdle at a Stage 1 debate at Holyrood on Tuesday.

The Bill would update laws to increase the greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 80% to 90% by 2050.

It would also introduce tougher interim targets of 56% for 2020 and 66% for 2030.

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Labour plan to lodge several amendments to the Bill, including looking at whether a fracking ban can be written into the legislation.

The move follows the Scottish Government recently announcing its third public consultation on the use of the unconventional oil and gas extraction technique.

Ministers announced an “effective ban” on fracking in 2017 but a Court of Session ruling last year found no prohibition against fracking in Scotland.

Labour will also lodge amendments calling for a target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and a target of a 77% reduction by 2030.

The party also wants a statutory, long-term Just Transition Commission to ensure the changes do not cost jobs or disproportionately hit the poor.

Anti-fracking groups have demonstrated outside the Scottish Parliament Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Labour’s climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish, said: “We are facing a climate emergency across our planet and Scotland should lead the way.

“That’s why Labour will seek to amend the SNP’s Climate Change Bill to introduce a bold and ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

“We’ll support that with a Just Transition Commission to well-paid jobs in the low carbon economy.

“Scotland has the power to ban fracking and Labour is examining the best way to do so, either through the Climate Change Bill or my member’s bill, after the SNP kicked the issue into the long grass with yet another talking shop.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our Climate Change Bill sets the world’s most ambitious targets for 2020, 2030, 2040 and will mean Scotland is carbon-neutral by 2050. These targets were described as ‘the limit of feasibility’ by our independent, statutory advisers the UK Committee on Climate Change.

“We have asked the Committee on Climate Change for further advice, along with the UK and Welsh Governments, and that advice is due on 2 May. If the advice says that it is now credible to set a net-zero target date then we will.”