After UK shale triumph, Scotland announces moratorium on shale gas projects

Emma Haslett
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Fracking is already widespread in the US (Source: Getty)

The Scottish government has announced a moratorium on planning permission for shale gas projects, less than 24 hours after a crucial vote in the UK parliament had saved the sector in the rest of the UK from a similar plight.

Last night MPs voted 308-52 against proposals to impose a moratorium across the whole of the UK. MP Tessa Munt resigned her post as a parliamentary aide to Vince Cable, after the voted against the government's fracking proposals.

However, Scottish MPs have launched an inquiry into the impact of fracking on public health, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said today, adding that while the UK government is attempting to introduce fracking "quickly, at any cost", Scotland is taking "a more cautious approach". Until the report is concluded, there will be a total moratorium on planning consents. At the moment, there are no projects underway in the area.

Scotland is thought to have 80 trillion cubic metres of shale, enough to keep the whole of the UK going for the next 30 years. Although the north of England alone is thought to have around 40 trillion cubic metres - which isn't counting the reserves under the home counties.

Yesterday unions gave their backing to the vote, with the GMB union saying that to vote for the moratorium would be a "total abdication of any moral responsibility" for the UK's use of gas.

"We will be using gas for many decades to come and this gas needs to come from somewhere."

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