Fracking ban decision to be unveiled by Scottish Government

Anti-fracking campaigners outside Holyrood
Anti-fracking campaigners outside Holyrood
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The Scottish Government is facing calls to unveil a legal ban on fracking when MSPs are updated on the issue this week.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse is to make a statement to MSPs at Holyrood on Thursday and campaigners are now calling the issue to be put to rest once and for all.

Two years ago energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced an "effective ban" on fracking in Scotland, but this was judges found this had no legal force after a court challenge was brought by petrochemical giant INEOS.

Read more: Final decision on Scottish fracking ban delayed
Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said: “Ministers must live up their rhetoric and fulfil the promises of two years ago by committing to a full legal ban on fracking that will put this issue to bed once and for all.

"The effective ban announced 2 years ago has been exposed in court as having no legal force and was described by the Scottish Government’s own legal team as merely ‘the language of a press release’.

Read more: Fracking court battle cost Scottish government £175k
“An expert legal opinion from earlier this year shows that not only is it well within the power of the Scottish Government to ban fracking, but that legislating would be a far more effective way to stop the industry and defeat any further legal challenges from companies like INEOS who want to frack the central belt."

In response to a Scottish Government consultation on fracking, 60,000 people called for the industry to be stopped. The Scottish Parliament also voted for a ban on the industry in June 2016.

The Scottish Government has been conducting several consultations on fracking in order to meet the legal requirement before a ban could be unveiled. A spokesman refused to comment ahead of the statement on Thursday.