Scotland bans fracking after 99 per cent oppose controversial gas extraction

THE Scottish Government has banned the controversial gas extraction method of fracking.

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Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said fracking will no longer be allowed to take place in Scotland, with the ban taking place immediately.

Since January 2015 there has been a temporary ban on the controversial gas extraction method as the Government carried out an extensive consultation process on its potential impact.

More than 60,000 people responded to a public consultation on fracking, with 99 per cent opposed

Mr Wheelhouse, said: "Fracking cannot, and will not take place in Scotland."

The SNP minister said it was the Government's responsibility to make decisions in the best interests of Scotland as a whole.

The minister, added: I can confirm the conclusion of the Scottish Government is that we will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland."

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: "This is a victory for the environment and for local communities fighting fracking.

"The Scottish Government's decision today to ban fracking will be warmly welcomed across the

country and around the world.

"This is a huge win for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for those on the frontline of this dirty industry here in Scotland, who have been working for a ban these last six years.

"Having put a moratorium in place more than two years ago, evaluated the evidence and consulted the people of Scotland, the Scottish Government has reached the right and sensible conclusion that the fracking industry must be banned to avoid potentially devastating impacts to people's health, the climate and our natural environment."

Not everybody is so happy about the decision, including Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart, who said the decision meant Scotland's economy was being "left behind" and reports show fracking could bring up to £4.6billion in additional added value as well as thousands of jobs.

He said: "This much-needed economic boost and these jobs will now be created outside of Scotland, thanks to the SNP."

FrackingExpress

Fracking involves digging deep into the earth for gas

Paul WheelhouseNC

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced Scotland would permanently ban fracking

Gary Smith, the GMB union's Scotland secretary, accused the Scottish Government of being "dishonest and hypercritical".

He said: "Scotland is importing a huge amount of shale gas from Trump's America.

"If the Government wants to be consistent, it will now ban shale gas imports, threatening a huge number of job losses.

"The Government has failed to explain where the two million households in Scotland using gas to heat their homes will get gas from in the future."

The ban will have to go through final approval but is expected to go through swiftly.

Labour's environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish called on the minister to back her Private Member's Bill to enshrine the ban in legislation.

She said: "Extending the moratorium indefinitely, whilst welcome, is not as strong as a full legal ban and could be overturned at any point at the whim of a future minister.

"These proposals do not go far enough. They do not offer the protection that my Bill would."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell also called for legislation confirming the fracking ban, saying: "We don't have a ban in front of us.

"The Scottish Government today has merely extended its moratorium, a moratorium which is legally shaky and open to challenge by large companies such as Ineos."