CONTROVERSIAL shale gas extraction, or fracking, currently banned after it caused minor earthquakes, could be expanded in Scotland under government plans to exploit reserves across the UK.
Official documents are understood to show Westminster hopes to extract shale gas in 64 per cent of the UK, including the central belt.
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey is expected to end the moratorium on production of the gas, imposed after two quakes near Blackpool last year were attributed to fracking, which involves injecting pressurised water, sand and a cocktail of chemicals into hard shale rocks to release the gas inside.
The UK government admitted commissioning a survey assessing the British shale gas resources.
Yesterday, Scottish campaigners joined UK protesters to hand a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron highlighting concerns about unconventional gas extraction methods.
Community councils in Falkirk oppose an application by Australian energy giant Dart to drill 14 new gas wells they believe would threaten housing, tourism and wildlife.
“To step up attention on this harmful technique and its effect on people, landscape and ecosystems, residents of Sussex, Falkirk, Belfast, the Fylde, the Ribble estuary and the Vale of Glamorgan have come together to ask for action, not words, on this crucial subject,” protest group Britain & Ireland Frack Free said.