The Scottish Government announced yesterday that it will not support the development of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Scotland placing an effective ban on fracking.
The decision follows a four month public consultation that had over 60,000 responses and 99% opposition.
Paul Wheeland the Energy Minister 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...We have not taken the process or the decision lightly. At every stage we have created opportunities for discourse and debate."
Scotland uses natural gas for heating and for it's chemical industries, however economists with KPMG has estimated that fracking would only increase Scotland's GDP by about 0.1% and would lead to devastating environmental impact.
Dean Lockhart, the Tories’ energy spokesman, said it would create thousands of high value jobs and add £4.6bn to the country’s economy – a figure disputed by Wheelhouse.
“This much needed economic boost and jobs will now be created outside Scotland thanks to the Scottish National party,” Lockhart said.
Ineos, the privately-owned oil and gas firm which owns the Grangemouth oil refinery and its neighbouring petrochemicals plant, was furious. Tom Pickering, managing director of Ineos Shale, said it was a disastrous decision which would damage Scotland’s economy.
“Natural gas will be needed by Scotland for the foreseeable future and production from the North Sea continues to decline,” Pickering said. “This decision, which beggars belief, means gas becomes a cost for the Scottish economy instead of an ongoing source of income.
Wheeland clarified the government's decision saying that:
“Scotland’s chemicals industry has conveyed strong views on the potential impact of shale on the sector. I want to be clear that regardless of our position on unconventional oil and gas, our support for Scotland’s industrial base and manufacturing is unwavering.
“Manufacturing and the chemicals industry continue to play a crucial role in the Scottish economy. The Scottish Government understands that a supportive fiscal regime, affordable energy, access to the right skills, and good infrastructure are all essential to future success. That is why this government will continue to support industry in a range of different ways in the months and years to come.”
Source: Scottish Government and The Guardian