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 has taken 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.
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 has been clear that it is not advocating a preferred position or policy. Instead, it is providing the opportunity for the people of Scotland and other stakeholders to consider the evidence and to present views on that evidence and the future of this industry in Scotland.
The questions being asked are:
- Overall, and in light of the available evidence, what do you think would be the main benefits, if any, of an unconventional oil and gas industry in Scotland?
- Overall, and in light of the available evidence, what do you think would be the main risks or challenges, if any, of an unconventional oil and gas industry in Scotland?
- Are there any other comments or observations on the issues discussed in the consultation?
The consultation closes on 31st May 2017. We are formulating our response to the consultation and would welcome your feedback to incorporate into this. To have your say, please email the compliance team at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively complete the contact form. To discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.