Scottish govt confirmed it will not allow frac’ing; “does not support the development of unconventional oil and gas”

Scottish government confirms ‘no fracking’ policy by BBC News, Oct 3, 2019

The Scottish government has confirmed its policy of not allowing fracking.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the existing block on unconventional oil and gas development would continue indefinitely.

He said the controversial extraction technique was “incompatible” with the government’s policies to tackle climate change.

Opposition parties said the move fell short of a full legal ban, but Mr Wheelhouse insisted it was “robust”.

The prohibition will be enforced via planning powers, with no licences for fracking being issued to companies.

The government first announced a moratorium on fracking in 2015, beginning a lengthy period of consultations and environmental and economic studies.

In 2017, Mr Wheelhouse announced a “preferred position” of not supporting fracking, which he termed as an “effective ban”.

However after a legal challenge from petrochemical firm Ineos the following year, the government’s lawyers successfully argued that talk of a “ban” was a “PR gloss” and that there was in fact “no prohibition against fracking in force”.

The government has now set out that its “final policy position” is that it “does not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland”.

News of the finalised policy position leaked a day early after it was accidentally published on a government website.

Mr Wheelhouse told MSPs: “That decision followed consideration of many factors including the significant negative effects that UOG development could have on our natural environment and the health and wellbeing of communities, while bearing in mind the overwhelming feedback from the public that this should not be permitted in Scotland.

“After a comprehensive evidence-gathering exercise, we have concluded that the development of onshore unconventional oil and gas is incompatible with our policies on climate change, energy transition and the decarbonisation of our economy.

“Fracking can only happen if licences are issued and we do not intend to issue any licences which would permit that.”

‘Full legal ban’

Environmental groups and some opposition parties have argued that a block enforced via planning powers could be reversed easily by a future government. [As is happening in New Brunswick and Quebec]

Mary Church from Friends of the Earth Scotland said it was “very welcome” that fracking would not be allowed, but said it was “frustrating that today’s decision falls short of the full legal ban that would put the issue to bed once and for all.”

However Mr Wheelhouse insisted that a “strong policy position” enforced via orders to councils was “robust, evidence-led and sufficient”.

He said legislation could potentially be introduced in future in light of new evidence, but stressed that “since the moratorium, no unconventional oil and gas extraction has taken place in Scotland”.

Refer also to:

Typical: Energy group Ineos files for judicial review of Scotland’s frac ban. But Scotland hasn’t legislated a ban yet, they only said they will ban it

Scotland Frac Consultation: Nearly 90% of respondents want frac ban. 95% agreed fracking poses “too many risks relating to pollution of the earth, water and air, and increased seismic activity”, only 4% disagreed

Frac fraud for Scotland? Is University of Edinburgh’s new test to check for shallow groundwater contamination from unconventional gas development, ie fracking, a set-up to blame nature when industry’s biogenic gases migrate into Scottish water wells?

2015: How harmful is fracing to human health and water and air quality? Very. Commentary by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea on existing peer-reviewed, published science and new CNA report

2015 10 09: Scotland widens fracking moratorium

One Year Anniversary for Scotland’s Frac Moratorium: Case against fracking ‘stronger now than ever’

2014: Scotland: Fracking warnings in Midlothian, fracking disturbs 8-11 times more land area than conventional drilling

2013: Fracking Coalbed Methane in Scotland: Dart ‘desperate’ to revive Airth plan

2013: Shale gas fracking ‘worth £5bn to Scotland’

2013: Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) probing methane leakage at Dart Energy coal-bed methane wells

2013: Secret Scots fracking plans by Australian energy company Dart

2012: Fracking poised for green light in Scotand, Lucrative tax breaks to spur boom in shale gas in UK, ‘Fracking’ exploration could affect 60 per cent of UK, despite safety fears 

Frac Trickery & Loopholes in Scotland: Thousands joined hands in stand against test drilling announced by govt one day after govt announced moratorium

Expert visits Holyrood Scotland to highlight risks of ‘fracking’

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