Scottish Government bans fracking

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed the government will not issue any licences for unconventional oil and gas projects

The Scottish Government has confirmed a policy of no support for unconventional oil and gas (UOG), which includes fracking.

Speaking at Holyrood yesterday, Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed the government will not issue any licences for projects that use UOG extraction, including those exploring for shale gas using hydraulic fracturing methods or coalbed methane projects.

He set out the factors that led to the decision, including the incompatibility of UOG development with Scotland’s climate change policy, which includes a target for net zero emissions by 2045 – five years ahead of the UK Government’s goal.

Mr Wheelhouse said the decision to ban fracking indefinitely comes after “one of the most far-reaching investigations” into unconventional oil and gas “by any government anywhere in the world” and that the policy is informed by “facts, evidence and analysis as well as public views”.

He added there has been a “dramatic change in public perceptions” of the environment, the climate crisis and the expectations of government to respond.

He said: “Based on the evidence on impacts and the clear lack of social acceptability, I can confirm today the Scottish Government final policy position is that we do not support the development of unconventional oil and gas – often known as fracking – in Scotland.

“We considered carefully how support for the development of onshore unconventional oil and gas sites with our policies on climate change, energy transition and the decarbonisation of our economy. We have concluded that it is incompatible.

“We will continue to work closely with businesses and key industrial clusters to support action to accelerate cost-effective industrial decarbonisation measures, including the development and deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage, as well as hydrogen technologies.”

No fracking has taken place in Scotland since the government placed a moratorium in 2013.

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