1. ITV Report

Scottish 'fracking' consultation begins

A test site for fracking in the UK. Credit: PA

The Scottish Government has today (31 January) launched a public consultation on the future of unconventional oil and gas extraction.

This includes hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and coal bed methane extraction - a method which has previously been considered in Canonbie, in Dumfries and Galloway.

A moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland remains in place - banning all forms of it until the outcome of the consultation.

As most of Scotland’s unconventional oil and gas deposits occur in and around former coalfields and oil shale fields in Scotland’s Central Belt, which contains some of the most densely populated areas of the country, as well as in the area around Canonbie, Dumfriesshire, it is vitally important that communities, businesses and interest groups from across Scotland have an opportunity to put their views across.

The Scottish 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, we will then consider the full range of evidence, and make our recommendation. In doing so, we will give careful consideration to the extraction methods for both shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane.

We will then ask members of the Scottish Parliament to vote on our recommendation, and we will come to a final decision by the end of 2017 on whether or not unconventional oil and gas has a role in Scotland’s energy mix.

– Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy

The consultation 'Talking fracking' will run until 31 May 2017 and can be viewed here.