Minister orders public consultation
Ewing announces moratorium on fracking consents
He told MSPs he wanted to ensure planning, environmental and public health matters were taken into account.
The Scottish government’s position has been “cautious, considered and evidence based”, he said. “This government takes unconventional oil and gas very seriously. We have listened carefully.
“However, local communities are likely to bear the brunt of any development. We are therefore working to strengthen planning guidance.”
He said environmental matters would be a key issue as well as the potential impact on public health. Scotland should learn from the experiences of other countries and there will be a full public health impact survey.
He confirmed that the moratorium would not act retrospectively on consents already granted.
Before the debate Alex Johnstone for the Scottish Tories said that the stories about fracking causing earthquakes “were just that…stories”. He said companies were keen to secure the work provided by producing shale gas and hat shipping shale gas half way around the world to the Grangemouth chemicals plant was inefficient.
Jackie Baillie for Labour said that assessing environmental concerns was crucial.
Patrick Harvie for the Greens said it would make a nonsense of devolving power over fracking if the UK government distributed licences before the Scottish parliament took control over the issue. He said this opened the door to further exploration and use of fossil fuel.