Scottish Government introduces fracking moratorium

Scottish Government introduces fracking moratorium

28 January 2015

This afternoon Energy Minister Fergus Ewing laid out the Scottish Government’s latest policy on unconventional gas and fracking, introducing a moratorium on the industry in Scotland while a full health impact assessment and public consultation is carried out.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Fergus Ewing’s announcement today is a huge victory for the communities, individuals and groups who have been campaigning to stop this dirty industry in Scotland. This moratorium is a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland. Any serious examination of the mounting evidence will inevitably lead to a ban. The Scottish Government has acted decisively today to protect communities across the country and the environment from this unnecessary industry.

«It is great news that Dart Energy’s plans for commercial coalbed methane at Airth are included in this moratorium. The Government’s decision today is testament to the perseverance of people and communities around the country who have tirelessly fought this industry in recent years.

“While we are calling for an outright ban, a halt on the industry while a full examination of health and environmental impacts is carried out is very welcome. Scotland joins France, Ireland, the Netherlands and New York State in a long list of countries and regions which have acted to stop the unconventional gas industry. We are convinced that a proper examination of the mounting evidence of health and environmental concerns must lead to a full ban.”

Mr Ewing announced that a full health impact assessment, consultation with communities and further work to strengthen planning and environmental regulation would be carried out, and that a moratorium on the industry would be in place until completion. He added that the Scottish Government would shortly provide further details of the timescales of this work. Mr Ewing also confirmed that it would be inappropriate to grant any planning permissions for unconventional gas while this work is being carried. This means at least considerable delay if not the end of Dart Energy’s plans for commercial coalbed methane at Airth, near Falkirk. Thousands of people locally and across the country opposed this development and Friends of the Earth Scotland fought alongside the community at a public inquiry last year. Canonbie, where 19 planning permissions for coalbed methane extraction exist, is also protected by the Government’s new policy, which will stop any new environmental permits being issued to allow this development to advance.


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