The Scottish government has announced it will categorically not support unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development, including fracking, in Scotland.
The government’s position has been informed by a sustained period of consultation and evidence gathering, with input from stakeholders and independent experts from the scientific, health and industrial sectors. Having determined that UOG development would be wholly incompatible with Scotland’s existing policies on climate change, the government has said it will not issue new licences for extraction of oil and gas using unconventional methods: this includes the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government’s final policy position is that we do not support the development of unconventional oil and gas – often known as ‘fracking’ – in Scotland. 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.”
The government’s new policy on UOG development will be integrated into the next iteration of the National Planning Framework, which details its long term plans for investment and development throughout Scotland. Once a National Planning Framework which encompasses the UOG policy has been approved by the Scottish Parliament, no future government will be able to adopt a future framework which allows UOG development without Parliament’s approval.
Mr Wheelhouse added: “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. I want to thank all those who contributed to our policy process and to recognise the considered submissions made by so many people.”