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Campaigners fear fracking ban loopholes

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​As ministers debate moves to ban fracking, campaigners say it doesn't go far enough

Scotland’s ban on fracking is to be debated in parliament as camapigners say the policy is not robust enough.

Ministers believe they have imposed an effective ban on fracking via planning powers but will now seek parliament’s endorsement.

While the vote will be backed, ministers will likely face criticism from all sides with each opposition party tabling an amendment to energy minister Paul Wheelhouse's motion.

Wheelhouse announced to MSPs before Holyrood's October recess that with 99% of consultation responses opposed to fracking, the government "will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland".

But opposition parties believe the move to ban fracking could be overturned easily in future, simply by ministers writing to councils.

Business groups slammed ministers over the move with Ineos claiming that it could result in jobs leaving Scotland.

Friends of the Earth Scotland called it "fantastic news for communities and the environment" - but have also challenged ministers to "go even further".

Head of campaigns Mary Church said: “Holyrood has already voted once to ban fracking and we fully expect it to do so again, with Labour, Greens and Liberal Democrats all outspoken in their opposition to this industry.

“By banning fracking Scotland will join the ever-growing list of states and regions to prohibit the industry.

"Unfortunately, the government’s proposal falls short of committing to passing a law like recent bans in Ireland, Victoria and Maryland.

“This means that a future Government could overturn this decision with the stroke of a pen, while a ban in law would require Parliament’s approval to undo the ban on fracking.”