Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy has launched a consultation on unconventional oil and gas.

The consultation seeks the public’s views on coal bed methane extraction and the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

The Scottish Government imposed a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in January 2015.

The new consultation runs until 31 May.

Decision this year

Wheelhouse said: “This consultation does not set out or advocate a preferred Scottish Government position or policy.

“As most of Scotland’s unconventional oil and gas deposits occur in and around former coalfields and oil shale fields in Scotland’s Central Belt, which contains some of the most densely populated areas of the country – as well as in the area around Canonbie, Dumfriesshire – it is vitally important that communities, businesses and interest groups from across Scotland have an opportunity to put their views across.

“We will then ask members of the Scottish Parliament to vote on our recommendation, and we will come to a final decision by the end of 2017 on whether or not unconventional oil and gas has a role in Scotland’s energy mix.”

> Take part in the consultation