FRACKING was effectively banned in Scotland today in a stunning victory for environmental campaigners.
The Scottish Government announced today that the controversial process would have no place in the country despite the UK Government leaning towards the controversial industry.
It now sets up a possible legal challenge from operators Ineos who say they have ploughed millions into their shale-gas drilling strategy in Scotland.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse made the announcement at Holyrood this afternoon after being granted permission to address MSPs.
“Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland,” the energy minister said.
The recommendation is still to go to a debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament following the consultation.
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.”
It comes after a six year campaign by a range of opponents to fracking in Scotland, and was greeted with joy. A moratorium on fracking has been in place in Scotland since 2015.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: “Given the strength of feeling against fracking in the country, and the First Minister’s well documented skepticism about the industry it’s hard to see how the Scottish Government could do anything other than announce an outright ban.”
Ineos, who operate the massive petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, have bought several fracking licenses in Scotland including Airth near Falkirk.
They could now challenge the Scottish Government over recouping in excess of £50m costs they say have been incurred as part of those deals.
Opponents to fracking argued it uses masses amount of water and risks potentially carcinogenic chemicals contaminating groundwater through high velocity pressure works.
Ineos later said the decision “beggars belief”.
Want to learn more? Read: Scottish Government – Talking Fracking: A Consultation on Unconventional Oil & Gas
Image credits: Holyrood cc Waldomiguez