Scottish Government announces permanent ban on fracking

The Scottish Government has said it will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland, effectively banning shale gas fracking north of the border.

Scottish Parliament: body will be given vote issue
Scottish Parliament: body will be given vote issue

In January 2015, the Scottish Government announced a moratorium on granting consents for unconventional oil and gas developments while more research and a public consultation were carried out.

The further research included a report by an independent expert scientific panel and a series of research projects to explore certain issues in more detail. These included examinations of economic, climate change, transport and community impacts.

In January the Scottish Government launched a public consultation on the future of the unconventional oil and gas industry ahead of a final decision on whether to lift the moratorium. 

Today, Scottish minister for business, innovation and energy Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the Scottish Government would permanently ban such operations across its territory.

Wheelhouse said that the decision follows "an extensive period of evidence gathering, public engagement and dialogue on the issue".

A Scottish Government statement said that, to put the announcement into immediate effect, it has written to local authorities across Scotland "to make clear that the directions that gave effect to the moratorium will remain in place".

It said that a parliamentary vote will take place in the near future, followed by a strategic environmental assessment to assess the impact of the ban.

Wheelhouse said: "The views expressed through our consultation demonstrated that communities across Scotland, particularly in densely populated areas where developments could potentially take place, are not convinced there is a strong national economic argument when balanced against the risk and disruption they anticipate, such as transport, pollution and, crucially, their health and wellbeing."

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