THE case against fracking is even stronger now than it was when the Scottish Government announced a moratorium on it and unconventional gas extraction a year ago, according to an environmental group.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) said that in the past year, the Paris conference on climate change had reinforced the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid “devastating” global warming.

Last year was the hottest on record and recent flooding had given Scotland a glimpse of the impact that was still to come from climate change.

Speaking on the anniversary of the moratorium, FoES campaigns chief Mary Church said: “One year on from Fergus Ewing’s announcement of the moratorium, fracking looks like an even worse idea than it did 12 months ago.

“Evidence of detrimental impacts from fracking in the US is mounting, more states and countries have banned it, opposition to the unconventional fossil fuel industry continues to grow and the low oil price means it’s not economically viable.”

FoES said that following the moratorium, Wales and Northern Ireland had introduced presumptions against fracking, and in July the Netherlands extended its moratorium for another five years. In October the Scottish Government introduced a further moratorium on underground coal gasification.

It added in the past year, communities in Pennsylvania who had been living with polluted drinking water for years were vindicated after research confirmed supplies had been contaminated by fracking chemicals.

Earthquakes from fracking activity had halted drilling in Lancashire for two years and now evidence from the US suggested the threat was even worse than feared, with the re-injection of industry wastewater responsible for almost 1,000-years’ worth of earthquakes in Oklahoma in just two.

The group said communities in Scotland and across the UK were continuing to organise and oppose unconventional fossil fuels. This weekend would see protests across the UK for a National Anti-Fracking Day, including events in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Fife.

On the economic front, FoES said that research in December found fracking threatened house prices in Scotland following a UK Government report which had found the same.

Fracking and other forms of unconventional fossil fuel extraction were “only viable when the oil price is high”, it said, adding that the current low oil price was a major problem.

Church added: “Opening up a new frontier of unconventional fossil fuels is irresponsible in the context of the global climate crisis. We are already seeing the impacts of a changed climate here in Scotland.

The UK Government continues to offer tax breaks and weaken planning laws in its attempt get the fracking industry going, yet the low oil price has rendered the economics of unconventional fossil fuels totally unviable.

“The Scottish moratorium is protecting communities across the country from this unwanted industry, but pressure for a full ban has been growing. SNP members have expressed their disappointment over their party’s decision to exclude a motion calling for a fracking ban from their spring conference.

“We urge the Scottish Government to ban unconventional gas and get on with the job of a genuine energy transformation to a fair, decentralised renewable system.”