Scotland will block hydraulic fracturing indefinitely after a public consultation found overwhelming opposition to the practice, the British region’s energy minister said on 3 October in a victory for environmentalists.
Scotland imposed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, the process of fracturing underground shale rock to release gas and oil, in 2015, and that will now remain for the foreseeable future.
“The decision taken today means fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland,” Paul Wheelhouse told the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh. “Taking account of available evidence and the strength of public opinion, my judgment is that Scotland should say ‘no’ to fracking.”
The method has run into stiff opposition in many countries. Environmentalists say it causes problems including pollution of the water table, and residents of areas where hydraulic fracturing is being considered fear increased noise, traffic, and other effects.
Britain is estimated to have substantial amounts of shale gas trapped in underground rocks but, despite support from the central government in London, progress has been slow as environmentalists and local communities lobby against hydraulic fracturing.