ENVIRONMENT campaigners have hit out after it emerged a fracking license for central Scotland has been renewed for a year.
It comes as the Scottish Government draws up long term strategies for the practice, after effectively tying them up applications in planning red tape.
Ministers have voiced their opposition to fracking, but the move was greeted by dismay today.
The extension to the initial term of PEDL162, a license owned by INEOS and Reach CSG and earmarked for fracking covering 400km2 in the central belt, is for a year.
But Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of Campaigns Mary Church said: “Extending this license risks adding to the confusion caused by INEOS’s recent legal challenge, and only increases the pressure on the Scottish Government to move forward with its decision making process, legislate to ban fracking and draw a line under this issue for good.
“It is disappointing that the Scottish Government has opted to extend the license that was due to expire last month, when people locally and nationally have said no to fracking so clearly.
“The operators have already had one extension to this license and despite having consents in place before the moratorium on fracking, they hadn’t fulfilled their drilling commitments, so clearly this license should have been revoked.
“While it is unlikely that the operators will be able to do much in terms of advancing their shale gas ambitions in 12 months, it is an uncomfortable position for the Scottish Government to take given its opposition to fracking.”
INEOS recently tried and failed in legal action to prevent the government effectively banning fracking through planning policy.