Scottish Government Bans Fracking

Activists protest fracking during a march in Edinburgh in 2015.

Activists protest fracking during a march in Edinburgh in 2015. Ric Lander/Flickr

The Scottish government has announced a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, due to strong public opposition and little economic justification, several news agencies reported.

“Having taken account of the interests of the environment, our economy, public health, and the overwhelming majority of public opinion… fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland,” Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a statement. Wheelhouse also said that allowing fracking would undermine the country’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

“We have a moral responsibility to tackle climate change and an economic responsibility to prepare Scotland for new low-carbon opportunities,” he later told the Scottish parliament.

Scotland has had a moratorium on fracking since 2015, importing the oil and gas it needs for heating and electricity instead. The government’s decision to ban the technique entirely is the result of a four-month public survey that garnered more than 60,000 responses. It showed “overwhelming” opposition to fracking, with 99 percent of respondents supportive of a ban, Wheelhouse said.

Scotland’s Parliament will cast a vote on the ban later this year, but policy experts said with only Conservatives opposed to it, “the vote is likely to be a formality,” the BBC reported.