Activists and Central Belt residents were cheering a decision today by the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to bring in a moratorium on fracking. The granting of consents for unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland will be halted while further research and a public consultation is carried out.
The decision comes days after the UK Government voted against a moratorium.
Last Friday, following the publication of the Smith Command Paper, Mr Ewing wrote to UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey requesting that the UK Government do not issue further licences in Scotland as the powers over licencing are due to be devolved.
As well as a full public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction the Scottish Government is to commission a full public health impact assessment and look at strengthening planning guidance and environmental regulation.
"This moratorium will continue until such time as the work I have set out to Parliament today, including a full public consultation, is completed," said Ewing.
“We have put in place robust environmental regulation, tougher planning rules and successfully opposed the UK Government’s plans to end Scottish householders’ rights to object to drilling under their homes."
He added: “We recognise that local communities are likely to bear the brunt of any unconventional oil and gas developments, particularly in terms of increased traffic and related emissions and noise impacts. These are issues that must be researched further."
The decision does not rule out the possibility of fracking and other unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland being allowed to go ahead in the future.
Said Ewing: “We should never close our minds to the potential opportunities of new technologies – but we must also ensure that community, environmental and health concerns are never simply brushed aside. This government will not allow that to happen and I hope the actions I have announced today will be widely welcomed as proportionate and responsible.”