Ineos Starts Fracking Consultations

The operator of Scotland's largest petrochemical plant at Grangemouth has started a community consultation process in a bid to gain support for fracking.

Ineos said its information programme will give the public the facts about shale gas extraction while highlighting both the issues and benefits.

The development of unconventional gas extraction has been halted by a Scottish Government moratorium while further research and a public consultation is carried out.

Ineos has acquired more than 700 square miles of fracking exploration licences in central Scotland.

Environmental campaigners are opposed to the practice.

Friends of the Earth Scotland accused the company of resorting to "spin-doctors and glossy videos'' in an effort to win over communities.

Ineos has the budget for "a long and dirty fight'', the charity said, while campaign groups "can only fight their corner on a shoestring''.

The firm's consultation process will start in mid-April with a series of ``town hall'' meetings, beginning in areas where it already holds shale gas licences, then moving across the whole of the Scottish shale gas belt.

The first meetings will take place in fifteen towns including Denny, Alloa, Falkirk, Kilsyth, Bishopbriggs and Cumbernauld.

Ineos Upstream chief executive officer Gary Haywood said: "The Scottish Government wants the public to be fully informed about shale gas production and we are determined to help.

"We are launching Scotland's biggest shale gas information programme to make sure that local communities get a chance to hear the facts rather than the myths about shale gas.''

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