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​Fracking licences suspended

This news post is about 9 years old

Fracking licences suspended by UK government

No more fracking licences will be awarded in Scotland by the UK government.

UK ministers said they have agreed in principle to halt licences but are still to consult with companies which have already applied for licences before any final decision is made.

New powers over the industry are due to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government is to hold a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas projects, using its existing powers.

UK energy minister Matt Hancock said: "We've already committed to Scotland having devolved powers for licensing of oil and gas as part of our efforts to give the Scottish government more decision-making powers.

"We agree in principle to their request that no new licences be awarded in Scotland as part of the 14th licensing round, and will consult with companies who have already applied before making a final decision."

Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said it was good news that the UK government agreed in principle that no new onshore oil and gas licenses should be issued in Scotland ahead of those powers being devolved to Holyrood.

She added: "This is logical move, and an additional layer of protection for communities across Scotland, following the welcome introduction of a moratorium on shale gas fracking and coalbed methane.

“However communities should be informed exactly where companies have applied for licenses so that they are better informed as to risks and able to engage in Scottish Government’s imminent consultation exercise on unconventional gas extraction.

“We urge the UK government to additionally devolve full licensing powers for underground coal gasification, an extremely risky and experimental technique.

"The Scottish Government should use the same powers to halt underground coal gasification as it is using to stop shale gas and coalbed methane until full licensing is devolved.”

Communities should be informed exactly where companies have applied for licences - Mary Church

Scottish energy secretary Fergus Ewing said that decisions about fracking should be decisions for Scotland.

"We first persuaded the UK to abolish their plans to allow fracking to take place beneath people's properties without their consent and secondly we persuaded the UK government that responsibility to determine policy should be passed to Scotland," he said.

Ineos, one of the companies intending to develop unconventional energy projects, questioned the decision.

"Ineos understands the commitment to devolve powers to Scotland including the development of exploration licences in Scotland.

“However, it is not in fact necessary to delay awarding of the 14th Round exploration licences in Scotland as the Scottish Government already has effective control over any physical activity on the licences through the planning system.”