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Fracking ban hailed as victory by campaigners

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Friends of the Earth Scotland has said the move ends any hopes of fracking across the country

An environmental group has welcomed a ban on fracking in Scotland.

This week, MSPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Scottish Government’s decision of not supporting unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland.

The government has said the move ensures that an effective ban has been placed into its policy framework.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said the vote was a major victory for anti-fracking campaigners.

Head of campaigns Mary Church said: “This vote ends any hopes the industry had of fracking in Scotland.

“This is a huge victory for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for communities on the frontline who have been fighting for a ban these last six years. The Scottish Parliament’s vote affirms and strengthens the ban on fracking. The ban will protect Scotland’s people and the environment from this dirty industry and boost the global fight against fracking.”

Prior to the vote, a four-month public consultation, which received more than 60,000 responses, was held. A moratorium was placed on unconventional gas extraction – which campaigners said would have a devastating impact on the environment – in January 2015 while examination of the effects was carried out.

Approximately 99% of respondents to the consultation were opposed to fracking and fewer than 1% were in favour.

Scottish Government energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “As a government, and as a parliament, we have a responsibility to make decisions in the interests of the people whom we represent, confident that the choices we make will not compromise health and safety or damage the environment in which we live, nor undermine our efforts to achieve Scotland’s annual statutory greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“It was clear from the response to our consultation that there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time, and the research we have conducted did not provide a strong enough basis from which to address those communities’ concerns.”