Report To Detail Impact Of Fracking On Environment And Economy

8 November 2016, 06:33

Long-awaited research looking at the impact of fracking on both the environment and the economy is being published.

The Scottish Government has commissioned a series of reports on the controversial practice, which is also known as hydraulic fracturing, and any impact on public health will also be considered.

The work was announced in January 2015, when the SNP administration brought in a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas extraction.

Holyrood ministers have pledged to take an ''evidence-based approach'' when considering whether such developments should be given the green light, but have also pledged to listen to public opinion too, with a major consultation still to take place.

With a series of reports being published on Tuesday, Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse is due to make a statement to MSPs.

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: ''We expect the research gathered by the Scottish Government will echo the growing body of evidence that documents the negative impacts of fracking on communities, public health, the environment and climate.

''As the Paris Climate Agreement entered into force last week with its commitment to keep warming under 1.5C, a radical change in our energy systems is needed. Nations must commit to leaving fossil fuels in the ground and we hope that the Scottish Government will put climate change at the forefront of its decision-making on fracking.''

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks agreed that ''any considered review of the evidence should lead to the conclusion that there is no place for fracking in Scotland's energy future''.

He added: ''The climate science is clear, the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground.

''There is overwhelming public opinion in favour of cleaner forms of energy and a sufficient body of evidence on why unconventional oil and gas are neither good for people or the planet.

''Scotland should instead be playing to its natural advantages in clean, green renewable energy and capitalising on the jobs, climate benefits and health improvements a zero-carbon future can deliver.''

Last month, Mr Wheelhouse announced that underground coal gasification (UGC) is being banned in Scotland. That announcement was made the same day as the UK Government gave the go-ahead for fracking at a site in Lancashire, overturning the county council's decision on the scheme.