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Scottish Government grants fracking extension despite promise of ban

This news post is almost 6 years old

The Scottish Government has extended energy giant Ineos' license to frack in Central Scotland by a year, despite claiming it plans to ban the practise

Environmentalists have hit out at the Scottish Government for extending a fracking licence despite pledging to ban on the controversial practise.

Officials have extended the initial term of the licence owned by energy giant Ineos by one year to frack an area in the central belt covering 400 square kilometres.

Last year Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that “Fracking is banned in Scotland – end of story” after a four month consultation showed overwhelming opposition to the gas extraction technique.

The government however has yet to formalise its position through legislation and until then fracking remains, technically, legal.

Ineos recently challenged the move to ban fracking by judicial review.

However in his judgement in May, Lord Pentland turned the lack of legislation against Ineos, ruling the energy company's challenge was "unfounded" due to "no prohibition against fracking in force".

Campaigners are now calling for the Scottish Government to enforce the ban before more companies are given fracking licences.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland's head of campaigns, said: "Extending this licence risks adding to the confusion caused by Ineos’s recent legal challenge, and only increases the pressure on the Scottish Government to move forward with its decision making process, legislate to ban fracking and draw a line under this issue for good.

"It is disappointing that the Scottish Government has opted to extend the license that was due to expire last month, when people locally and nationally have said no to fracking so clearly.

“The operators have already had one extension to this license and despite having consents in place before the moratorium on fracking, they hadn't fulfilled their drilling commitments, so clearly this licence should have been revoked.”

Church added that while it is unlikely operators will be able to do much in terms of advancing their shale gas ambitions in the next 12 months, it is an “uncomfortable position for the Scottish Government to take given its opposition to fracking."

Ineos owns two fracking licences in Scotland and imports fracked shale gas from the United States to process at its refinery in Grangemouth. It has said that a ban on fracked oil and gas extraction would result in Scotland missing out on economic benefits, including about 3,100 jobs and £1 billion for local communities.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The extension of the PEDL 162 licence does not alter the current position that we do not support the development of unconventional oil and gas while the statutory assessments on the Scottish Government’s longer-term preferred policy are undertaken, as explained in the minister’s statement last October. It should be remembered that the area affected does not have planning permission or the necessary environmental licences required prior to allowing any unconventional oil and gas extraction.

“In that regard, a result of the actions taken by this government, no local authority can grant planning permission for any proposed fracking or coal bed methane project and Scottish ministers would defer any decision on any planning application that did come forward until the full policymaking process on our preferred position is completed and, as ministers propose, a policy to not support unconventional oil and gas is adopted in planning policy.

“The practical effect of the moratorium established in 2015 is that no fracking can take place in Scotland at this time.”



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almost 6 years ago
Educate yourself or stop making shit up which ever you find easier ? The Scottish Government do not have the power to ban fracking, that is yet another power held by Westminster, neither do they have the power to grant licenses, that is Westminster that does that too, all they can do is install a moratorium which in effect stalls the company INEOS for using the license granted by Westminster, which they have done until August when they will renew it. So your story is in fact made up nonsense based on no facts or understanding of the situation or indeed true
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almost 6 years ago
What does an inaccurate anti-government fracking story have to do with third sector news? Anybody would think this organisation is a thinly veiled front for peddling a political line? If not, then stop the ill-informed headline-grabbing. I for one who is deeply involved in the third sector want to hear about relevant and truthful things. If this kind of nonsense remains then I doubt I will be looking to this site or organisation for anything.
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almost 6 years ago
A very poor piece of 'journalism' - the whole reason the Scottish Government is doing what it is doing is to ensure that 'in practice' no fracking can take place in Scotland. Any outright ban would be overturned by those loonies that control the UK Government and who are intent to robbing the Scottish Government of any power to do anything at all - perhaps Robert Armour should consider either writing a balanced piece or getting another job as Ruth Davidson's mouthpiece
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