WHEN Grangemouth was on the brink just a couple of years ago, we saw just how vital it is to Scotland’s economy. At that time, all parties, and both of Scotland’s governments, rallied together to secure its future.

It now relies heavily on the vast amounts of shale shipped over from the US, which safeguard thousands of jobs in the Scottish economy.

Quite why we cannot get to work on extracting the shale reserves under Scotland is a mystery, particularly when the resources to process it are right here.

Calls for Scotland not to take fracked liquid gas from US

We currently have a Scottish Government that wants to kick fracking into the long grass, so terrified is it of the hysterical green lobby.

In a recent paper for Reform Scotland, energy expert Dr Stuart Paton pointed out the inconsistency in the SNP position. Given the Party’s support for offshore oil and gas, it is simply not logical for it to oppose onshore development, particularly given the clear economic advantages.

There are four clear reasons for pursuing fracking in Scotland, based on the US experience. Firstly, thousands of jobs could be created in a new industry, re-employing many of those who have lost their jobs in the North Sea.

Secondly, as the example of the US shows, fracking can lower energy costs – good for industry and consumers.

Thirdly, fracking provides greater security of supply, so as a country we are less dependent on imports of gas.

Fourthly, fracking in the US has reduced carbon emissions by millions of tons, by displacing dirtier coal from the energy mix.

Clearly fracking in Scotland would need the highest standard of environmental safeguards. But, as the Scottish Government’s own expert scientific panel concluded in 2014, it can be done here safely with the proper regulation.

Scotland needs to keep up with the times, and make an effort to capitalise on our onshore natural resources, just as we have done in the North Sea. That’s the way to help the economy, secure our energy supply, and ensure the future of Grangemouth.

Murdo Fraser is a Scottish Conservative MSP