Peaceful Protest at Ineos Grangemouth this Sunday 7th December 2pm

A peaceful protest orgainising by a group called Frack of Falkirk  is being held this Sunday 7 Dec 2014 at 2pm opposite Ineos Musuem and Offices on Boness Road with plenty of parking on the service road just off the main Inchyra Road which is also called Inchyra road with the postcode FK3 9XB.  

Frack of Falkirk have liaised with Police Scotland and Security Services to hold this event under european human rights act.

There has been publicity over the past couple of weeks about a possible March which has been cancelled on a couple of occasions, including a lone 16 year old trying to organise a March with the help of his mother. 

The organisers have been in contact with Friends of the Eath Scotland to explain that this will be a well organised event co-ordinated by people with experience of organising peaceful mass protest elsewhere in Scotland. It would be great if as many people from the Falkirk area were able to come along on Sunday.

Having attended solidarity events in Lancishire and Barton Moss in Manchester it will be great to attend a local protest to show local people that there is vocal public concerns about unconventional gas exploration in Scotland with Falkirk at the centre of the resistance 

Norman Philip


Open Letter to the Scottish Government regarding unconventional gas extraction industry.

We, an alliance of groups from Scottish communities directly or indirectly at risk from the unconventional gas extraction industry, have come together to call on the Scottish Government to follow the example of other countries by implementing a moratorium on all forms of unconventional gas development in Scotland. The Scottish Government has the power to insist on a moratorium and can demonstrate its commitment by taking the responsible decision on the Falkirk public inquiry, to refuse permission to Dart Energy for commercial coalbed methane extraction.

We are supported in our call by increasing numbers of groups concerned about unconventional gas developments, by trades unions representing workers at risk of the health and safety impacts of the industry, and by organisations, scientists and public health researchers opposed to the negative environmental, health and economic impacts of unconventional gas extraction. 
A responsible decision is one truly in line with the precautionary, community-led approach to unconventional gas assessment set out in the new Scottish Planning Policy, and which sends a clear message to Westminster that its gung-ho, undemocratic approach on this issue is unacceptable in Scotland. 

The UK government has just closed the licensing round for exclusive rights to exploit Scotland's onshore oil and gas resources. 20,000 square km of our heartland are on offer in what is home to 70% of the Scottish population and much of our most productive farmland and economic activity.   

Every week, evidence is mounting that risks to public health, workers and the environment associated with this necessarily intensive industry are inherent and impossible to regulate away. Our experiences to date strongly indicate SEPA and the HSE are overstretched, under-resourced, and therefore ill-equipped to regulate exploratory drilling properly, let alone larger developments. The population density of the central belt, and its highly faulted and mined geological context, further exacerbate potential impacts. The idea that financial incentives can remedy genuine public and environmental health concerns is morally insupportable.  

Every week more evidence calls into doubt the economic promises of the unconventional gas industry. Industry and banking whistle-blowers in the USA indicate that the onshore gas-drilling boom of recent years is little more than a financial bubble – less about energy production than quick-win gains for a few multinationals before the bubble bursts. It is diverting investment away from renewables, sending profits overseas. The industry’s promises regarding employment, cheap gas, energy security and climate impacts, are disingenuous and ill-founded. The collateral risks far outweigh any local economic benefit, and threaten over-arching local and national policy aspirations.

Every week it becomes clearer the UK Government will steam-roller ahead in its support of the unconventional gas industry, irrespective of counter-evidence and the democratically-expressed opinion of its electorate. In the month since the referendum, Westminster has sought to overrule Scots’ rights to be notified about and to object to shale gas drilling under our homes, has rushed through an amendment allowing operators to use any substance and leave it in their wake, has held an auction of Scotland’s heartland for fracking, and in July underwrote INEOS’s plans to make Grangemouth the ‘European hub of fracking’ with £230m of tax-payers money. 
Thus we welcome Holyrood’s defence of Scottish citizens where it has made a vocal opposition to the Westminster approach and by taking direct responsibility for deciding the Dart public inquiry. We welcome the recognition enshrined in the new Scottish Planning Policy that a proper risk assessment of unconventional gas applications must involve the meaningful participation of Scottish communities who bear the burden of risk, and this must involve the operators’ full disclosure of all necessary information. But this does not go far enough.

Unconventional gas isn’t some far off prospect. Our communities, and others across Scotland, are facing the very real prospect of extraction on their doorstep now or in the immediate future.  There is a genuine risk that hundreds of wells will be drilled across Scotland only to demonstrate there is no economically viable resource, profiting the few at the expense of the public, environment, and economic health of the many, and derail our world-leading programme for long-term sustainable development.

We therefore call on the Scottish Government to take the responsible decision on the Dart application. Until such time as full and open public health impact and lifecycle environmental impact assessments have been conducted with effective consultation and conclusions satisfactory to all concerned parties, we call on the Scottish Government to implement a moratorium on all unconventional gas activity.

Yours sincerely
Canonbie and District Residents Association
Clacks Against Unconventional Gas
Concerned Communities of Falkirk
Don't Frack The Briggs (Bishopsbriggs)
Dunbar Anti Fracking Team
East Lothian Against Fracking, Pencaitland
Halt Unconventional Gas Extraction, Cumbernauld
Highlands and Islands Against Fracking
Iona Community Mull and Iona Family Group
No Fracking North Berwick
Our Forth (Portobello)
Supported by:
Eco Drama
Friends of the Earth Falkirk
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Friends of the Earth Stirling
A Greener Melrose
Hands Off Our Scotland
Professor Andrew Watterson, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, Stirling University
Professor Rory O’Neill, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, Stirling University
Markinch Environmental Action Group
Scottish Hazards Campaign
Stirling University
Transition Town Linlithgow
Transition Black Isle
Transition Stirling

Unison Scotland


Sandra Burt's report on the Peoples Climate March

People’s Climate March, Edinburgh
Sunday 21st September 2014

I arranged to take part in the People’s Climate March with some friends I’d made whilst volunteering as a Zero Waste Scotland Recycling Ambassador at the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year.  It’s good to unexpectedly find like-minded people and share information about events, and I found out about this march through these new friends.  It was ironic that the weather was glorious – a warm and sunny day in late September.  The sunshine helped bring out the crowds but underlined the reason we were there.  It’s difficult to estimate numbers but there were possibly around 5000 people in Edinburgh at the march.

The crowds assembled at Mound and we met this man who told us about the shofar - a ram’s horn blown at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival at the end of September which precedes Yom Kippur.  The shofar is also sounded as a call to action and so was fitting to be heard at the People’s Climate March. 

The homemade banners were impressive and an area had been set aside at the rallying point to create personal climate change messages.  Posters from events at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival had been recycled into banners and flags.  I liked the fact that this activity had been incorporated into the festivity of the day.

There were a few speakers before we set off, and we were told that because so many more people than expected had turned up, the police had been asked to help steward the march.  Some lanes on the roads also had to be closed.  We walked along Princes Street, over North Bridge, up the High Street and back down to the Mound.

I bumped into some friends on North Bridge - John Fitzgerald and Mary Church from Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Back at the Mound there were more speakers and some community singing to finish off the rally.


Falkirk Screening of Unearthed

Saturday, 1 November 2014 from 18:30 to 21:30      get ticket here

Falkirk Screening of the incredible new fracking film Unearthed by South African director - Jolynn Minnaar.

The Karoo in South Africa is a stunningly beautiful agricultural area , which is threatened with the same dangers Scotland faces right now. The threat of the big gas companies setting up gas well sites and the process of  hydraulic fracturing or fracking our lands!!

We all face the potential risks to health, from the effects of possible contamination of our water, decimation of the enviroment and the huge impact on climate change from pollution of land and air. This film highlights the devastating effects.

There will be a Q & A after the film with the director Jolynn, producer Stacey and respected panel guests

Falkirk Stadiums
4 Stadium Way
FK2 9EE Grangemouth
United Kingdom


Demand the Scottish Government block fracking now!

Before the end of October, fracking companies will have submitted their bids to the UK Government for exclusive rights to exploit shale gas and coalbed methane across vast swathes of the country.

At the same time, the UK Government is going ahead with plans to remove the right to object to – or even be notified about – fracking underneath your home!Over 20,000 square km is up for grabs in some of the most populous and beautiful parts of central and southern Scotland. Not only is fracking linked to serious public health risks, impacts on water resources and the local environment, but opening up a new frontier of fossil fuels as we face climate catastrophe is the last thing we should be doing.

This threat is very real - you will have seen in the news that petro-chemicals giant INEOS plans to bribe communities to allow fracking in their area.

The Scottish Government has taken a more cautious approach to fracking and drilling for unconventional gas than its Whitehall counterpart. Yet it still talks about shale gas as an opportunity when in reality it is nothing but a threat to our health and our climate.

Scottish Ministers say they need more powers at Holyrood to properly regulate the fracking industry. But while greater devolution to the Scottish Parliament would likely be a good thing, the Scottish Government could choose to use existing powers to block fracking in Scotland.

Please email your MSP now to call on the Scottish Government to stop the advance of unconventional gas and fracking in Scotland whether or not Holyrood gets more powers.

Head of Campaigns
Friends of the Earth Scotland

Join the frackdown!

Wednesday 8th October sees Mr Frackhead - a giant, fracking puppet monster blinded by the lure of cheap gas - visit the Scottish Parliament on his UK tour. Keep up-to-date with his progress on Twitter (@MrFrackhead) or through the Friends of the Earth Scotland Facebook event. Come and join us to tell him to frack off, and ask your MSPs to take action on fracking!


Nourish Conference 2014

Representatives from Friends of the Earth Falkirk are going to the Nourish Conference- Our Common Wealth of Food. October 16th &17th October at the Royal Concert Hall and Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow. For details of the event follow this link:

Meat Free Mondays

Meet free Mondays- take action once a week

On Tuesday 23 September world leaders are gathering in New York to discuss climate change. The first time the UN has tackled the subject since 2009.
Friends of the Earth EWNI are working with other organisations to get as many people as possible to pledge to go meat free for one day a week. This simple step will show world leaders that we’re serious about reducing global emissions.
Did you know?
Livestock production is responsible for over 14.5% of global greenhouse gases
75% of agricultural land is used to raise animals for food
Every hour an area of rainforest the size of 100 football pitches is cut down to create room for grazing cattle
Eating less meat is an easy way to reduce our climate impact and anyone can do it. Already vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian? You can still sign the pledge to show your support. 
Worried about what to eat? Download our Eat Smart Pack full of handy tips and advice or invest in a delicious vegetarian cook book.

There was an agreement at our September meeting to produce a FoE Falkirk leaflet to promote Meat Free Monday, or vegan Monday for vegetarians to promote this initiative in Falkirk.

Summer Plant Stalls

Friends of the Earth Falkirk had two plant stalls this year. It was decided that we would replace the reuse book stall with the plants to compliment our Community Gardens and to promote local food and address litter issues. The plants included wild strawberries form or Arnot Street Garden as well as a number of donated plant from the group members. Specific thanks go to Maria for a large donation of plants. The stall was held at an event at Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert and at the Steeple on Falkirk High Street on Charities day on 6th September. Fiona took the opportunity on the stall to raise concerns about litter, specifically cigarette litter, and handed out butt boxes to smokers.


Broad Bean Humous Recipe

One of the successes of the Soup and Stovies day was the Broad Bean Humous that Simon made with of the broad beans from the garden.

400g shelled broad beans (if you can’t get fresh broad beans frozen are fine)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to season

Put the broad beans into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the beans are tender. Remove from the heat and drain. Once cooled slip the beans out of their rubbery skins.

Put the beans along with the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz to produce a thick puree like consistency. If you find it a little too thick at this stage add a little more oil or lemon juice to thin out slightly.

For a slight twist add some freshly torn up mint leaves to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.

Then transfer to a serving dish and enjoy with crudités, flat breads and crackers.

This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and after making a very large batch of this recently I also successfully froze smaller portions in sandwich bags.

Soup and Stovies a great success


Soup and Stovies Day Saturday 9th August 2014

The annual Soup and Stovies day, a celebration of our community gardening, local food and volunteering will be held at our Bean Row Garden, just off Falkirk High Street, between 12noon and 1pm. All welcome.


Bean Row Flourishing

The Bean Row Vegetable Plot is looking at its best at the moment. We hope we have a better crop this year for our annual Soup and Stovies event.


Pedal on Parliament 2014

Gather at the Meadows in Edinburgh for a 12 noon start on Saturday the 26th April 2014

Friends of the Earth Falkirk will be represented again.
PoP 2014
Last year 4000 of us pedalled on the Scottish Parliament to tell our politicians we want a cycle-friendly Scotland. Since then, although there have been some changes, Scotland is a long way away from achieving that – so we’re doing it again
2014 is the year Scotland decides its future, but whatever the outcome of September’s vote, we already know what kind of Scotland we want to see. We want to see a place where everyone – young or old, male or female, able-bodied or not – has the freedom to get about by bike if they want to. And by doing so we believe that we will make Scotland a healthier, wealthier, and above all happier place.
We need you to join us to add your voice in support of our manifesto for a cycle-friendly Scotland

What we want

  1. Proper funding for cycling.
  2. Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
  3. Slower speeds where people live, work and play
  4. Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
  5. Improved road traffic law and enforcement
  6. Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
  7. A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
  8. Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy


Week two at the Coal Bed Methane Public Local Inquiry

Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith on Skype
At the start of the second week of the Local Public Inquiry there was an early start to allow witnesses to Skype in from Australia. The first witness was, Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, who is no stranger to Falkirk having spoken at a public meeting in Falkirk in June 2013. Dart’s QC line of questioning asked why she had not made clear at her public meeting that she was giving an overview of unconventional gas in Australia and not addressing Darts application specifically. Mariann explained she had given her talk all across Europe and if her intention was to specifically address the Dart application she would have titled her presentation accordingly. Dart essentially accused her of coming to Scotland to scaremonger and stir up the communities concerns, after the initial planning application closing date and after the Concerned Communities of Falkirk Mandate was drawn up. The following day when community representatives were being cross examined each person was asked if they had attended the public meeting accusingly. Dart's witness on Public Health accused the public meeting of causing unnecessary stress to those in attendance. 
 A video of this public meeting is available on the right hand panel of this blog. 

The second witness from Australia Dr Geralyn McCarron gave evidence on the health symptoms of communities living in close proximity to Coal Seam Gas wells. She spoke of a community who “thought they were living in paradise and found they were living in a gas field.” She spoke about the mental health impact of residents feeling trapped by their circumstances. These themes was taken up the next day when Alison Doyle from Concerned Communities of Falkirk shared her heartfelt evidence of her sense of threat to her “secure sense of home.”

“They thought they were living in paradise and found they were living in a gas field.”   Dr Geralyn McCarron 

Both witnesses from Australia emphasised their belief that the community require to be consulted and given all the relevant information.  The Dart QC suggested that Dr McCarron was not aware of the public process involved in a Local Public Inquiry in Scotland. He tried to explain that this is a Public inquiry. The community are represented by their elected members. “What can be more public than that!” The question I had at that point was were Dart not aware that the elected representatives at both Falkirk and Stirling Council had rejected their planning application. When I got home I had a letter through my letterbox from Michael Matheson , my constituency MSP and Public Health Minister, in regards to the ongoing debate on the National Planning Framework. The letter included the following paragraph:

‘You will be aware that I remain opposed to the planned development within the Falkirk area for unconventional gas extraction.”  Michael Matheson MSP

Having attended two Local Public Enquiry’s in Grangemouth I would challenge the concept of Public in the title of the process. The Inquiry and Hearing process of a LPI is difficult for the public to follow due to the hundreds of documents that are referred to and the legal processes within cross-examination. Held when the majority of the public are working over a period of weeks it is virtually impossible for the public to follow. 


BIG DIG Saturday 22nd March

Big Dig at our Bean Row Veg Plots (just off Falkirk High Street) Saturday 22nd March  11am to 1pm. All welcome to come and plant up the veg plot at Bean Row. There will be opportunities to get involved in all four of our gardens. Tea and Coffee will also be available for all the hard workers. Donations of plants and seeds are also welcome.


Fairtrade Fortnight Litter Pick either side of Kincardine Bridge

Sandra from the group organised a Fairtrade litter pick at either side of the Kincardine Bridge. Les and Norman tidied up the hedges on the Falkirk side of the bridge, the first or last impression drivers have of Falkirk.

Gastonbury @ North Star Falkirk

The GAStonbury Benefit Night was a great night of music in support of the CCoF Public Inquiry Legal Fund. Well Done to to all involved.

February Garden Tidy

Simon and Norman spent a morning tidying up all four of our Community Gardens. The main job at all four gardens was to pick up the litter which had gathered after the winter storms. At Bean Row we turned over the earth to let some spring air in to heat up the soil. At Kings Court we picked up glass and cigarettes which had collected over the winter. The ASDA Herb garden had become an ashtray again and it is hoped the spiny growth of the herbs will remind smokers that there is a garden there. Just incase they don't notice we will add some of our signs to remind them.  Work has carried out othe winter at out Arnot Street garden over the winter by a number of volunteers. This has stopped the litter building up.


Barton Moss Solidarity Sunday

A bus left from Falkirk to support the community near the Barton Moss Frack Site in Manchester. We added a Scottish voice to the nationwide rejection of Fracking Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane from impacted communities across the United Kingdom