MSPs are debating Scotland's fracking ban

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Application Approved To Frack Existing Gas Site In Ryedale
Scotland effectively banned fracking earlier this month (Source: Getty)

MSPs are debating the Scottish government's effective ban on fracking, with a vote set for later today.

Earlier this month, energy minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that a public consultation had found widespread opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Scotland, and that it "cannot and will not take place in Scotland".

The Scottish Conservatives have been the only party to oppose the move, but ministers have faced criticisms from both sides of the divide.

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While the Green party and environmental campaigners argue the current measures do not go far enough, fracking firm Ineos said Scotland will miss out on jobs, and industry body UK Onshore Oil and Gas (Ukoog) hit back with a scathing response saying the country was "turning its back" on job creation, skills development and investments with a decision "based on dogma not evidence or geopolitical reality".

Holyrood first imposed a moratorium on fracking in January 2015.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has tabled an amendment that says the Scottish government's ban is an "ill-thought out decision, which completely disregards scientific evidence" and which will cost thousands of jobs. It also notes inconsistencies on fracking, as Scotland continues to import shale gas from overseas for processing at Ineos' Grangemouth petrochemical plant.

Scottish Labour's Claudia Beamish called for the ban to be included in the government's next National Planning Framework.

The government's moratorium has been enforced by local planning regulations telling councils not to consider new applications for fracking developments.

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