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Saturday, March 26th, 2016
South of Scotland lead candidate Sarah Beattie-Smith reinforced the Scottish Greens’ policy to ban fracking, as she addressed a hustings audience at the weekend.
Speaking at an event organised by local community group Sustaining North Berwick, Sarah said: “I want to ban all Unconventional Gas Extraction. I want to see communities not afraid to speak up against fossil fuels for fear of losing their homes and jobs.”
Sarah was joined on the hustings panel by Scottish Labour’s Iain Gray, SNP’s DJ Johnston-Smith, Ettie Spencer of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative & Unionist Rachael Hamilton. Both Gray and Spencer joined in criticism of the SNP’s failure to ban fracking through planning procedures, while Johnston-Smith said that the SNP’s approach to fracking was “evidence-based”. Gray also insisted there would be a need for nuclear power “for a significant period of time”.
“The SNP are murky on fracking. They can ban it,” said Sarah. “We need to diversify energy supplies. Extending the life of Torness nuclear power station was the choice of a foreign-owned company, not the UK or Scottish governments.”
Questions from the floor included how many refugees Scotland should accept; how the county’s infrastructure could withstand increased housing; and how the Scottish Government could encourage use of renewables.
“We need to improve energy efficiency in homes,” Sarah said. “Investment needs to be made in renewables and ground source heat pumps, etc.”
Speaking at the end of the event, one audience member said: “This was really useful. It’s made me interested in politics again! I thought Sarah was really switched on.”