The future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland has proven both complex and controversial, and deeply held, sincere views have emerged on all sides of the debate.
The Scottish Government’s position is to take a cautious, evidence led approach while we gather and consider evidence. In January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland, which prevents hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane extraction taking place while the Scottish Government investigates evidence on potential impacts.
To support this consultation, the Scottish Government has compiled a comprehensive evidence-base. This has included commissioning a report by an Independent Expert Scientific Panel, and commissioning a series of research projects to explore certain issues in more detail.
A dedicated website, www.talkingfracking.scot, will run for the duration of the consultation. The website provides user-friendly information on unconventional oil and gas, and the findings of the research commissioned by the Scottish Government.
Discussion tool-kits have been created to help communities and other groups participate in the consultation. These can be accessed at www.talkingfracking.scot.
Why We Are Consulting
Studies have shown that Scotland’s geology, and in particular a stretch of land through Scotland’s central belt (referred to as the Midland Valley), contains significant quantities of shale gas and oil, and coal bed methane. The central belt is also one of Scotland’s most populated regions, supporting important industries and business.
Accessing these resources would require the use of technologies such as hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as ‘fracking’). This has led to a widespread debate on potential environmental, health and economic impacts, and on compatibility with Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets.
The Scottish Government’s approach to unconventional oil and gas is therefore one of caution while we gather and consider evidence, encourage dialogue, and give you an opportunity to set out your views.
This consultation does not set out or advocate a preferred Scottish Government position or policy. Instead, this consultation is an opportunity for the people of Scotland and our stakeholders to consider the evidence, and to present views on that evidence and the future of this industry in Scotland.
Download the consultation paper, or view an html version on gov.scot