Scotland: devolve fracking to Scottish authorities

Debating Chamber Scottish Parliament

A new poll by Survation suggests that fracking should be devolved to Scottish authorities. Only Conservative voters oppose the idea.

Scotland is going through a massive constitutional change, and the Smith Commission is leading the way in trying to work out what new powers the Edinburgh administration should take from London.

The Survation poll shows that the clear majority of Scots want the ability to give out licenses for fracking to be controlled by an authority in Scotland, rather than at Westminster.

66.1% of respondents said ‘The licensing should be devolved to Scottish authorities’, compared to the 18.2% who said ‘The licensing should continue to be carried out by the UK government.’ Thus, a clear majority are in favour of devolution in this area.

Of those respondents intending to vote SNP next May 87.9% said backed the idea, whilst Conservative voters were the only major party to oppose the idea, with just 37.4% being in favour it. Meanwhile, 57.6% of voters intending to vote Labour next May backed the idea, whilst 65.5% said they were in favour of devolving the licensing.

Furthermore, of those who voted ‘yes’ in Scotland’s independence referendum, now over two months ago, an unsurprising 85.7% said they backed the devolution of fracking licenses. As for those who voted ‘no’, 53.1% backed the idea, whilst just 29.4% said they were not in favour of devolving fracking licenses. Scotland may have rejected independence, but it is clear that their is a consensus on more autonomy, particularly emphasised by the fact that both a clear majority of Labour and Lib Dem voters wish to see fracking licenses devolved.

The poll also reveals that out of every age group and region a clear majority are in favour of putting licenses in the hands of Scottish authorities. The same also holds for both genders, all social class and the public and private sectors.

Only those who voted Conservative in 2011, and those intending on voting for the right of centre party next year, have a majority in favour of Westminster retaining the ability to give out fracking licenses - unsurprisingly of course.

Overall, it appears there is a mass consensus in Scotland that more powers should be devolved, with this poll highlighting that fracking licenses are one of the areas the people of Scotland wish to see in the hands of a more ‘local’ authority.

Scotland may have voted ‘no’ to independence, but the country craves more autonomy, more control, more say over its home affairs.

The UK is moving towards becoming a more federal state - and Scotland is leading the way.

The full results of the Survation poll can be found here: