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Public opposition key to Scottish shale fracking ban

General - Fracking

The decision follows an overwhelming swell of opposition against the form of extraction which saw 99% of 60,000 respondents express opposition during a four month consultation period.

Scottish minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse announced the decision in the Scottish Parliament prompting a round of applause from Scottish ministers. Environmental concerns, particularly around public health, transport, pollution and carbon emissions played a key role in the decision.

Wheelhouse said: "Having taken account of the interests of the environment, our economy, public health and the overwhelming majority of public opinion, the decision I am announcing today means fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.

"We have undertaken one of the most far-reaching examinations of unconventional oil and gas ever carried out by any government, anywhere.

"The views expressed through our consultation demonstrated that communities across Scotland, particularly in densely populated areas where developments could potentially take place, are not convinced there is a strong national economic argument when balanced against the risk and disruption they anticipate in areas, such as transport, pollution, crucially, their health and wellbeing."

Planning directions which gave effect to a moratorium on the technology in January 2015 will now remain in place. Following a parliamentary vote, the government will also undertake a strategic environmental assessment to ascertain the impacts of its decision.

Unconventional oil and gas and chemicals firm Ineos responded to the news by saying the decision will negatively impact Scottish jobs, energy security and growth. It referred to the decision as "bizarre" given a report commissioned by the Scottish Government deemed shale fracking to be safe.  

Operations director of Ineos Shale Tom Pickering said: "It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making. The Scottish Government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings."

Chief executive of UK Onshore Oil & Gas Ken Cronin said: "This is a poor decision, ignoring Scotland's rich heritage and expertise in oil and gas. It is not based on the evidence from extensive independent research, which clearly states that with appropriate regulatory oversight and monitoring Scotland's regulatory framework is sufficiently robust to manage onshore exploration and production."

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