AN “at-risk” council has called on the Scottish Government for “clarity” over fracking due to fears developers may target its land.

Fife Council passed a motion opposing all fracking and unconventional gas extraction this year. Depute leader Lesley Laird urged Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to say when Holyrood will report on its review into the processes.

A moratorium on all forms of underground gas drilling is currently in place. A timetable announced last October said this would be published sometime in autumn 2016, with a public consultation to follow.

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Last year “political uncertainty” saw Cluff Natural Resources park plans to use underground coal gas-ification (UGC) in the Firth of Forth.

The company said preparatory work was “well under way” and yesterday Laird said the local authority needs answers on the issue.

The councillor said: “When the moratoriums were confirmed, the Scottish Government indicated there would be extensive stakeholder engagement, across a number of themes, designed to establish an evidence-based approach to dealing with the matter of unconventional gas and fracking as well as deter- mining the Scottish Government’s position on whether these technol-ogies should be allowed in Scotland.

“As Fife is one of the local authority areas likely to be most impacted by unconventional energy, we want to make sure elected representatives, local communities and businesses are fully engaged in decisions that will shape their local area.

“We want to ensure that the processes are in place to make the best decisions possible for the people living and working around the Firth of Forth, preserve the local environment and support local democracy.”

The National asked the Scottish Government to indicate dates on when the report will be published and the public consultation launched. A spokesman said the process is “on schedule” but declined to give more detail, stating: “The Scottish Government has commissioned a series of independent research projects into unconventional oil and gas (coal bed methane) and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to examine the potential environmental, health and economic impacts and to inform our evidence-led approach.

“These are due to report later this year, with a significant public consultation exercise on schedule to take place during winter 2016/17.

“The public consultation will be open to all, giving everyone in Scotland a chance to respond. The moratorium on unconventional oil and gas will remain in place throughout this process and the SG will use the views and information gathered though the consultation to inform its decision on the way forward.

“A separate moratorium on underground coal gasification has allowed the necessary time for full and careful consideration of the potential impacts of this new technology to be undertaken. The Scottish Government has asked Professor Campbell Gemmell to undertake an independent review of UCG, which is due to conclude shortly. The findings of this review will be published in full in due course.”