THE Scottish Government has confirmed its “final policy position” on fracking as being one of no support.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the Government does not support the controversial practice but feels an outright ban is “not necessary at this time”.

A moratorium has been in place since 2017 on unconventional oil and gas extraction.

Wheelhouse said: “There has been a change in public perception to the climate crisis and the expectations on governments to respond. We have considered evidence gathered from a range of independent experts, undertaken the necessary statutory assessments and ensured that people in industry across Scotland have had the opportunity to participate in the policy making process.

“We’ve undertaken the most far-reaching investigations into unconventional oil and gas by any government anywhere in the world. Ministers have concluded that an unconventional oil and gas industry would not be of sufficient positive benefit to Scotland to outweigh its negative impact.”

Energy companies in Scotland need licences and planning permission to begin fracking, and Wheelhouse said the Scottish Government will ensure these are not provided.

He said: “The finalised policy of no support enables us to set a framework for the exercise of planning and licensing functions.

“As a result of our decision, fracking can only happen if licences are issued, and we do not intend to issue any licences which would allow fracking. To put this into immediate effect, the chief planner has today written to planning authorities across Scotland, stating our finalised policy.”

Opposition parties have called for an outright ban on the practice, something Wheelhouse said is unnecessary, however he did say it could happen in the future.