The Scottish Government has finalised its onshore unconventional oil and gas (UOG) policy, confirming that it will not issue any licences for fracking projects.
The final policy of no support for development is connected to the onshore exploration, appraisal or production of coal bed methane or shale oil and gas using unconventional extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing and dewatering.
No fracking has been carried out in Scotland since the government placed a moratorium in 2013.
On 9 February 2018, the Scotland Act 2016 devolved to the Scottish Parliament certain powers to legislate for the granting and regulation of licences for onshore oil and gas.
The finalised policy of no support allows the Scottish Government to establish a framework for the exercise of planning and licensing functions in respect of onshore oil and gas licensing devolved under the act.
Scotland Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “After a comprehensive evidence-gathering exercise, we have concluded that the development of onshore unconventional oil and gas is incompatible with our policies on climate change, energy transition and the decarbonisation of our economy.
“Fracking can only happen if licences are issued and we do not intend to issue any licences which would permit that.”
The government said the finalised policy position will also be reflected in the next iteration of the National Planning Framework. Under the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, it must secure approval from Parliament before it can be adopted by ministers.
After the approval of the new National Planning Framework, no government will be able to adopt a revised framework to support unconventional oil and gas development without the backing of Parliament.
The Scottish Parliament recently passed new legislation, committing to net zero emissions by 2045.