OPPOSITION parties have called on the Scottish Government to promise an outright ban on fracking.

Ahead of a statement on the issue from ministers on Thursday, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have all demanded the controversial practice is banned.

In 2017, energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said an "effective ban" had been put in place, however this was challenged by energy firm Ineos.

The company lost the ensuing case, with a judge ruling that under law there was no ban on the practice.

Scottish Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said: "This indication that the Scottish Government might provide some much-needed clarity is welcome, but the devil will be in the detail of exactly what the minister announces.

"A fudged moratorium only keeps the door to legal uncertainties open. I hope we see a commitment to a watertight legislative ban on fracking, but it needs to be part of a wider real commitment to reduce our reliance on gas.

"That means not only do we ban fracking under our own communities, but we also stop importing fracked gas from overseas.

"The Scottish Government should commit to a real ban today, otherwise their world-leading spin will remain just that."

Scottish Labour environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish also called for the practice to be banned.

She said: "The Scottish Government's process has been far too long and convoluted, despite indisputable mandates from public and Parliament.

"We know that fracking has no place in the climate and environment emergency. Leaving the door ajar means uncertainty for business, a toxic threat to our environment, and has troubled many communities for years now.

"It has been two years since the minister set out a 'preferred' policy position, and communities should not have to wait another day."

The calls come after a document appeared on the Scottish Government website on Wednesday, saying of the statement on fracking: "The Scottish Government confirmed its final policy position of no support for unconventional oil and gas."

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Liam McArthur saw the document as confirmation the Scottish Government would seek a ban on fracking.

He said: "Across central Scotland, communities sat on or near sites potentially earmarked for fracking have been living in fear of what the Scottish Government might decide.

"By dragging their feet, ministers have imposed years of uncertainty on those people and their communities.

"Nicola Sturgeon stood up in Parliament and declared that fracking was banned, then her Government's lawyers stood up in the Court of Session and argued that it wasn't.

"Now that the Scottish Government are finally set to commit to doing the right thing, it's time for an all-out assault on Scotland's emissions."

The announcement is due to be made in the chamber at 2pm on Thursday.