Scotland unhappy with “gung-ho” fracking

The Scottish Government is angry it will be overruled about fracking underneath homes in Scotland. Yesterday Business and Energy Minister Matt Hancock confirmed hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas will take […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Scottish Government is angry it will be overruled about fracking underneath homes in Scotland.

Yesterday Business and Energy Minister Matt Hancock confirmed hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas will take place underneath homes without developers needing permission.

Changes to the Infrastructure Bill will affect national oil and gas and geothermal projects taking place a mile or so beneath the ground but they must be deeper than 300 metres.

Without the change, projects could have been “significantly delayed by one single landowner”, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said yesterday.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing called the change “gung-ho”.

He said: “The UK Government failure to listen to our concerns is of great worry. That they have also failed to listen to 99% of respondents to their own consultation just emphasises their “gung-ho” approach to the whole issue of fracking.”

Scotland wants to claw back approval rights as part of the devolution of powers after the referendum, he added: “We strongly believe that decisions on oil and gas drilling should be made by the people who live in Scotland, through the Parliament and Government they elected.”

However the boss of oil and gas trade body UKOOG, Ken Cronin felt the change just brings rules “in line with other essential services such as water, sewage and coal.”

He said: “Landowners on the surface will not notice this underground activity, it will have no impact on their day-to-day lives and, at this depth, the land is not in use by the landowner.”