The Scottish Government has effectively banned hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for shale gas north of the border after saying it will “not support the development of unconventional oil and gas”.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, told the Scottish Parliament that the administration’s four-month consultation into the topic had received 60,000 responses.

He said 99% of the responses were opposed to fracking and fewer than 1% were in favour.

The ban follows a moratorium on shale gas drilling, which was introduced in January 2015.

Mixed reaction

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This is a huge win for the anti-fracking movement, particularly for those on the frontline of this dirty industry here in Scotland, who have been working for a ban these past six years.”

But Gary Smith, Scotland Secretary at the GMB trade union, argued: “The reality is that today’s ban means a future where we will be increasingly dependent on importing fracked shale from the United States into Grangemouth – a remarkable hypocrisy – and shipped supplies of liquified natural gas from the likes of Qatar and Russia.

“Quite frankly this decision isn’t just mired in dishonesty, it’s also an abandonment of the national interest.”

> See the Scottish Government's statement

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