Scotland vowed on October 3 to ban hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” due to “overwhelming” public opposition to shale gas.
Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said Scotland’s current moratorium would be extended “indefinitely” through planning powers — removing the need for legislation.
He told members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs): “Let me be clear that the action is sufficient to effectively ban the development of unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland.
“The decision that I am announcing today means that fracking cannot, and will not take place in Scotland.”
Wheelhouse said a public consultation on the issue received more than 60,000 responses, with 99% of respondents opposed to fracking.
Opponents raised concerns over the impact on health and the environment. Fracking involves injecting water at high pressure into shale formations, fracturing the rock and allowing natural gas to flow out.
The government will seek MSPs’ endorsement of the ban by extending the moratorium in place since 2015 during a debate and vote following recess.
Environmental groups hailed the move. Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigns chief Mary Church called it “a huge win” for anti-frackers who have been calling for a ban for six years.
She said the ban would “avoid potentially devastating impacts to people’s health, the climate and our natural environment”.
[Abridged from Morning Star Online.]