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Fracking debate

Published: 24 Oct 2017 17:26

Scottish Parliament endorses ban.

MSPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Scottish Government’s decision of not supporting unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland.

It means that an effective ban using devolved planning powers is now in place. The approach ensures that decisions on onshore unconventional oil and gas developments will be made against the framework of Scottish Government policy.

The vote marks the culmination of the Scottish Government’s cautious, evidence-led approach to unconventional oil and gas including a four-month public consultation which received more than 60,000 responses.

Approximately 99% of respondents to the consultation were opposed to ‘fracking’ and fewer than 1% were in favour.

Speaking after the vote, Scottish Goverment Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“We undertook one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government and created numerous opportunities throughout the process for discourse and debate.   Today’s vote is the culmination of that process, and represents a clear endorsement of our decision.

“In coming to a view on unconventional oil and gas, we carefully considered the findings of our extensive research alongside the results of our public consultation. 

“As a Government, and as a Parliament, we have a responsibility to make decisions in the interests of the people whom we represent, confident that the choices we make will not compromise health and safety or damage the environment in which we live, nor undermine our efforts to achieve Scotland’s annual statutory greenhouse gas emissions targets. 

“It was clear from the response to our consultation that there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time, and the research we have conducted did not provide a strong enough basis from which to address those communities’ concerns.

“The Scottish Government has said “no” to fracking in Scotland. Today the Scottish Parliament did the right thing for Scotland and endorsed our position.”    

Background

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will now be commissioned to consider the potential impacts of the Scottish Government’s position, prior to formal finalisation of the Scottish Government’s position, as endorsed by Parliament. As agreed during the debate - subject to the SEA outcome - the Scottish Government will take steps to reflect this position in the next iteration of the national Planning Framework.

Scottish Government statement on fracking: https://news.gov.scot/news/scottish-government-says-no-to-fracking