Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced a block on granting consents for unconventional oil and gas production, including fracking, pending the outcome of a full public inquiry.
In his statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Mr Ewing said the government will set out plans to begin more work to increase the evidence for shale oil and gas exploration.
The news comes after UK MPs rejected a ban on fracking earlier this week in the House of Commons.
A full public consultation on fracking including a public health impact assessment is to be carried out in Scotland. Plans to strengthen planning guidance and tighten environmental regulations were part of yesterday’s announcement.
Mr Ewing added: “We recognise that local communities are likely to bear the brunt of any unconventional oil and gas developments, particularly in terms of increased traffic and related emissions and noise impacts. These are issues that must be researched further.
“We should never close our minds to the potential opportunities of new technologies – but we must also ensure that community, environmental and health concerns are never simply brushed aside.”
The UK Government confirmed a fracking ban on all national parks this week.