An oil giant gets permission to go after the Scottish government for breaching its ‘human rights’

A fracking protest sign
Support us and go ad-free

Oil giant INEOS has won the right to move forward with challenging the Scottish government for breaching its ‘human rights’ [pdf p10] by banning fracking. INEOS claims that the 2017 ban conflicts with a statute in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The company wants the ban overturned, and is also applying for undisclosed damages.

The people say no

The 2017 ban came after a consultation attracting over 60,000 responses of which around 99% were opposed to fracking. Announcing the ban, Scottish minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

Having taken account of the interests of the environment, our economy, public health and the overwhelming majority of public opinion, the decision I am announcing today means fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.

INEOS, however, opposes the ban and on 23 February received a legal judgement allowing it to take its case to judicial review.

Second victory for INEOS

This was the second victory for INEOS in as many days. The previous day, the company got permission to bring a case against the National Trust, which had refused permission for a seismic survey in Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. INEOS claims the survey was “routine and necessary”. The National Trust sees it rather differently:

We have no wish for our land to play any part in extracting gas or oil. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change at many of our places, and we have launched a programme to dramatically cut our own fossil fuel usage at our properties.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free


Last November, INEOS was also granted a wide-ranging injunction preventing “persons unknown” from interfering with their “lawful activity”. Anyone breaching the injunction may be “imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized”.

In each of these cases, INEOS essentially mounts the same defence: its right to pursue its business interests. And it presents it activities as not simply neutral, but good for the community. In its case against the National Trust, INEOS says that:

Legal action has been the last resort and we have used powers which prevent landowners from blocking projects which benefit the wider community and the nation as a whole.

Held to ransom

So now a fossil fuel company has the power to take a democratically elected government to court over its decisions, force a landowner to allow access for test drilling, and threaten peaceful protesters with imprisonment for obstructing its activity. We are facing catastrophic climate change. Yet companies such as INEOS want to carry on drilling and fracking.

The decision by the Scottish government to ban fracking was based not only on overwhelming public support, but also on overwhelming scientific evidence. If we want to keep global warming to 2C (itself far too high), we need to leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground.

It’s already far too late to prevent the worst damage but standing up to INEOS and other fossil fuel companies is vital for the planet and all of us who live on it.

Get Involved!

– Read other articles from The Canary on fracking.

– Stay up to date with fracking news from Drill or Drop?

– Join your local anti-fracking group.

Featured image via Matt Brown/flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed