Tom Crotty, director of the giant chemical company, Ineos, welcomed the moratorium on planning consents for fracking in Scotland, announced by the Scottish Government on Wednesday.
Mr Crotty, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions in the past hour, said the Scottish government’s plans for a public consultation during the moratorium were essential.
Ineos bought into a shale gas licence in central Scotland in October last year. It also said it was likely to apply for more licences under the government’s 14th round. Its plans to use shale gas as a feedstock at its Grangemouth refinery on the Firth of Forth have attracted opposition from Scottish anti-fracking campaigners.
Mr Crotty said: “They [the Scottish Government] want to suspend giving planning permission while there is a proper public consultation and I think that is essential and it is a requirement before we can make progress on this. And we are very committed to doing this”.
Mr Crotty also supported the proposed ban on fracking in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, announced by the government during the Report Stage of the Infrastructure Bill on Monday.
“We have always had a very, very strong view that the best place to develop this industry is in the traditional heartland of industrial UK, in areas that typically used to have coal, that have had their communities decimated. The whole of the central belt of Scotland was a coal mining area, still is today”.
Any Questions is repeated on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday at 1.10pm, followed by Any Answers at 2pm. The panel also included Lord Deben and the MPs, Margaret Hodge and Julian Huppert.