The SNP Government is inviting views from the public on the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland, including hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and coal bed methane extraction.
The consultation Talking “fracking” will run until 31 May 2017 and can be viewed on the SNP Government’s consultation website: http://consult.scotland.gov.uk .
A dedicated website www.talkingfracking.scot has been created for the duration of the consultation to provide user-friendly information on unconventional oil and gas and the findings of the research commissioned by the SNP Government. Discussion tool-kits have also been created to help communities and other groups participate in the consultation.
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said:
“The debate on the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland has proven to be both complex and controversial. It is also an issue that has stimulated intense discussion, motivated by deeply held and sincere views on all sides.
“The SNP Government has sought to present impartial and independent information on unconventional oil and gas in order to encourage informed dialogue and debate. This consultation does not set out or advocate a preferred position or policy. Instead, we want to create space for dialogue and allow different perspectives to come forward.”
Added Kenneth Gibson:
“It is vitally important that communities, businesses and interest groups from across Scotland have an opportunity to put their views across.
“The SNP Government has a very important decision to make in determining the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. Once the consultation closes and the responses have been independently analysed, the full range of evidence will be considered and Scottish Ministers will make a recommendation. Careful consideration will be given to the extraction methods for both shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane.
“MSPs will vote on the recommendation and a final decision will be reached by the end of 2017 on whether or not unconventional oil and gas has a role in Scotland’s energy mix.”
* In January 2015, the SNP Government placed a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland, meaning development connected to the onshore exploration, appraisal or production of coal bed methane or shale oil or shale gas using unconventional extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing. The SNP Government also ensured that no further unconventional oil and gas licences were issued by the UK Government for sites in Scotland.
* In 2013 the SNP Government asked an Independent Expert Scientific Panel to examine unconventional oil and gas. Their report was published in July 2014 and identified a number of key gaps in the evidence base. To address these, Ministers commissioned a suite of expert reports to examine specific issues in more detail. These were published in November 2016.
Research Reports can be found here.