Ministerial statement due on fracking in Scotland

Scottish Parliament 170531 Friends of the Earth Scotland

Opponents of fracking calling for a ban, outside the Scottish Parliament, 31 May 2017. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland

A ministerial statement is due later this week on Scotland’s policy on unconventional oil and gas.

The business bulletin on the Scottish parliament lists a statement for 2pm on Thursday 3 October.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said there would be no advance details of the content of the statement or who was making it.

A moratorium on fracking in Scotland was first introduced in January 2015.

It was continued by the energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, exactly two years ago on Thursday. This followed a public consultation involving 60,535 responses, of which 99% were against fracking.

In 2018, the Scottish government successfully defended what it called “an effective ban” against a legal challenge at the Court of Session by Ineos and Reach Coal Seam.

The judge, Lord Pentland, said the government’s preferred position was not a legally-enforceable prohibition and so Ineos’s case was unfounded.

A final decision on the policy had been promised by the end of March 2019. But before then, Mr Wheelhouse announced another delay for the Scottish government to update its position based on the findings of a second consultation.

Environmental campaigners called this afternoon for the Scottish Government to implement a legal ban on fracking, to “put the issue to rest once and for all”.

“Ban fracking once and for all”

Mary Church FoE

Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland (right), said:

“Ministers must live up their rhetoric and fulfil the promises of two years ago by committing to a full legal ban on fracking that will put this issue to bed once and for all.

“The effective ban announced two years ago has been exposed in court as having no legal force and was described by the Scottish Government’s own legal team as merely ‘the language of a press release’.

Earlier this year, an expert legal opinion, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Scotland, found it was well within the Scottish government’s power to ban fracking. But the opinion argued that legislation by the Scottish parliament would be a more effective way to stop the industry and defeat any further legal challenges.

Ms Church said:

“We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and now is the time for tough decisions to lay the framework for the system change we need to make happen over the next decade if we are to avoid outright catastrophe. A full legal ban on fracking will be much harder for a future minority government to overturn and will send a strong signal to the fossil fuel industry that its days are numbered.

The Scottish government announced a climate emergency in April 2019. Ms Church said the government “now needs to start acting like it means it”.

“That includes taking a much tougher stance with big, polluting corporations, ending its support for new oil and gas and using the powers it has to pass strong laws in the Scottish Parliament to drive the transformative change we need.”

14 replies »

  1. Following the collapse of fracking by Cuadrilla in the UK, due to earthquakes and undiscovered slicken sided faults, and considering that Scottish geology is far more faulted and much more complex than England, there is only one intelligent sensible course to take regarding fracking in Scotland isn’t there.

    “Ban fracking once and for all”

    Ms Mary Church head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

    “We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and now is the time for tough decisions to lay the framework for the system change we need to make happen over the next decade if we are to avoid outright catastrophe. A full legal ban on fracking will be much harder for a future minority government to overturn and will send a strong signal to the fossil fuel industry that its days are numbered.”

    “The Scottish government announced a climate emergency in April 2019. Ms Church said the government “now needs to start acting like it means it”.

    “That includes taking a much tougher stance with big, polluting corporations, ending its support for new oil and gas and using the powers it has to pass strong laws in the Scottish Parliament to drive the transformative change we need.”

    It cant be much more clear tthan that.

    Apologies Ruth and Paul for the copy and paste from the above text.

    [comment amended at poster’s request]

    • Hmm, interesting little error in geography there. United Kingdom is a combination of Great Britain and N.Ireland. Great Britain contains England, Scotland and Wales. So, Scottish geology is part of UK geology, not different, not more complex.

      Easy enough to check out on Giggle, as is, why red diesel is red.

      Not to worry, no one noticed. LOL

      • Apparently “no one” did notice?

        Been spell checking all this time? Never mind, we wouldn’t want you getting all excited and hot under the Collyer….would we?

        Nope, sorry old thing, you are quite wrong about the geology of Scotland and UK…..oops! “England”, and also Ireland for that matter.


        Geologically Scotland and ireland are quite different from England and Wales. Scotland and parts of Ireland were once part of what is now, the North American tectonic plate which formed part of what has been called Laurasia at the time, and what became England drifted up and “soft docked” with Laurasia during the “Stages of the Caledonian Orogeny”.

        Then all except Scotland and Ireland drifted across to where the North American plate is now. Scotland is very slowly headed for Scandinavia. England meanwhile is tilting slowly south east, London is getting lower and the north west is getting higher.

        “The Caledonian Orogeny occurred in three stages.

        The chain of volcanic islands collided with the Grampian Highlands about 480–460 million years ago. This is called the Grampian Event.
        Baltica collided with the Northern Highlands about 440 million years ago, pushing together the Northern Highlands and North-west Seaboard. This is called the Scandian Event.
        Eastern Avalonia ‘soft docked’ about 425 million years ago, as England softly collided with Scotland.
        With the completion of the Caledonian Orogeny, about 425 million years ago, Scotland’s geological foundations were finally brought together.”

        Scotland is indeed a part of The United Kingdom politically, however the present political boundaries are due to the islands that were formed relatively recently and are as such essentially quite arbitrary. There was once a land bridge known as Doggerland to what is now France for example. The Purbecks Old Harry Rock and the Isle of Wight Needles are all that remains of that.

        But geologically speaking, Scotland is not and was never part of UK….Oops! “Englands” geology. Scotland is much more volcanic, folded, faulted, fissured and is extremely complex compared to “England”.

        Sorry old thing, better luck next time.

        • So if ‘geologically speaking Scotland is not and never was part of the UK’ how do you explain the fact that Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic and Jurassic (and offshore Cretaceous and Tertiary) sediments in both Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland can be directly correlated as any ‘A’ level student knows? As England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are now part of the European plate if Scotland is slowly heading for Scandinavia (which it is not) then so must England, Wales and Ireland. The only reason the Southeast of the UK is getting lower and the Northeast of the UK is getting higher is due to isostatic rebound after the last 8ce age.

          • Call the police! Call the BGS! Call the BGS police! No one expects The Cenozoic Inquisition!!

            This is nowt but a diversion from subject by the usual suspects, and does not alter the fact that Scotland must……

            “Ban fracking once and for all”!!!

            I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request…..Means no…..

            If you are going to misquote then DYOR.

            Suggest Edinburgh Geological Society:


            Suggest BGS


            Suggest Scotland “Ban fracking once and for all”

            Suggest we go home in one hour! Yaayyy!!

            Have A Nice Day.

            • I am a geologist with 42 years professional experience and Fellow of the Geological Society. If you continue to post twaddle of a geological nature I will continue to call you out on it.

              • Dear me, David, what a display? I must advise you, that i will not be threatened by such remarks and this is the last time i will talk to you on this subject.

                Do all the anti antis fragment into such a state so rapidly? Must be something in the water…..

                The subject by the way, is “Ministerial statement due on fracking in Scotland”

                [Text removed at poster’s request]

                In relply however, the quoted sources answered the question, perhaps you should direct your “call out” enquiries there, the linked geological information was from the quoted sources in that respect only and remains so.

                However, since you ask so nicely, this is a direct quote from the Edinburgh Geological Society, and that supports what was quoted originally.

                “Scotland’s Geological Jigsaw:
                We can imagine Scotland as a jigsaw, with six main pieces, slabs of continent formed at different times in different places. Go back beyond 500 million years, and the oldest rocks give us glimpses of a complex history, with long-lost ocean basins, volcanic islands and chunks of continent that have been altered and overprinted by more recent events. The recent history is clearer, starting with the Caledonian Orogeny about 450 million years ago. Before that time the rocks of Scotland, Scandinavia and North America were one continent, while on the other side of the now-vanished Iapetus Ocean lay the rocks of England and the rest of northern Europe. The Caledonian Orogeny describes a period of continental collision and mountain building which closed the Iapetus Ocean, collided the rocks of England and Scotland, and fused the main jigsaw pieces of Scotland together. Then quieter conditions prevailed and much of Scotland was buried under layers of sediment, forming sandstone, coal and other sedimentary rocks. The tectonic activity didn’t stop there, though, for 60 million years ago the continent split apart, forming the North Atlantic in a spectacular firestorm of erupting volcanoes along Scotland’s western edge.”

                As clear as James Hutton to The Edinburgh Geological Society isnt it. Is that the “twaddle” you so eloquently refer to? Is that a geological term? Cenozoic or Anthopocene twaddle perhaps?

                If you want to “call out” (Is that another geological term?) the BGS or the Edinburgh Geological Society concerning their account of the geology of England and Scotland, then kindly take it up with them.

                They wrote it.

                But we all know that these really quite bizarre and increasingly threatening tirades, are just deliberate fracking gas lighting (an appropriate term) to divert away from tomorrows Scottish Parliament announcement on whether fracking will be banned in Scotland. It is frankly a waste of time and space.

                That appears to be the real source of all the gas lighting that this little diversion into geology was meant to detract from.

                Have a nice day tomorrow, and lets see what happens then shall we.

                End of subject.

                • Phil C

                  Your first post mentions geology. Second line, 8th word.

                  Martin replies to that post.

                  You may wish to correct your above post (6th line), to say it was mentioned in the first post ( Second Line, 8th word ).

                  Meanwhile my friends who worked the Lancashire coalfield would like to point out that the geology of the Scottish Coalfields, while challenging, was ( is ) no more challenging than the Lancs coalfield. These being ex Fife miners

                  But more challenging than the Notts / East Yorkshire Coalfield.

                  The shale is just under the coal.

                  However, the BGS note that the shales in the midland valley may be more problematic than the shales in England.

                  See second paragraph.


  2. No doubt Scotland will have already come to a decision but the recent announcement by the BGS should influence any future decision making.

    In August 2019, leading UK hydraulic fracturing company Cuadrilla were responsible for triggering a 2.9 magnitude earthquake caused by fluid injection into the Bowland shale causing a number of aftershocks which were felt many kilometers away for many days after the initial events.

    At the time of these events Cuadrilla were working under an agreed 0.5 magnitude threshold limit.

    In the most recent report into these events Dr Baptie of the BGS states,

    “There doesn’t really appear to be a clear relationship between injected volume and seismicity”

    This statement is in conflict with the BGS report into the 2011 earthquake at Preese Hall where Cuadrilla caused a 2.3 magnitude earthquake from fluid injection, again in the Bowland shale. The report by the BGS into those events includes the following findings,

    “The size, rate and type of induced seismicity would therefore be dependent on: 1) Rate and amount of fluid injected”

    The evidence is now clear. The science is very clear. You cannot limit the levels of seismicity by controling the amount of fluid you inject. If there are no control options available to UK shale gas operators then there can be no guarantee that any given magnitude threshold limit can be adhered to.

    Without full control of levels of induced seismicity the risks and damage are incalculable and therefore the industry cannot and must not be allowed to continue and hopefully Scotland will join the growing list of countries refusing to see this industry develop.

  3. Oh dear, oh dear!

    What a very poor attempt at creating a smoke screen-Phileas Fog classic.

    Not to worry old thing, I shall just have to remember there are a few regulars who do need to be appraised of what is common knowledge in the UK. Apologies, I did have to do such when I travelled abroad a great deal but have ceased doing so. I am sure I can get back into the swing of it.

    • Fascinating. Have you ever considered that posting these…..very odd tirades…..doesnt actually serve to enhance any attempt at cedibility at all Martin old thing?

      Perhaps referring all the time to a fictitious character from a 19th century French novelists imagination doesn’t exactly serve that purpose very well either, quite the opposite in fact.

      Just listened to the final days of Margaret Thatcher on BBC Radio 4. A popular, amongst some, but fallen icon.

      Perhaps those who seek to fly so very very high, and have the self delusional opinion that they cannot ever be wrong or at fault….there is that word again….invariably fall so very very far.

      Never mind, the rest of us will watch as Scotland hopefully Bans fracking once and for all on Thursday

      Do try not to fret so much, at the end of the day, it’s only words in the countless billions of years of geological history.

      More pressing matters are better served by solving all this petty division over words and in fighting that is rife in the human race at present.

      Our children and grandchildren will expect much much more from us all to actually do something intelligent for a climate change

      Have A Nice Day.

      [comment corrected at poster’s request]

  4. Just a few, short, comments-not tirades.

    Sorry you find them so difficult to manage without starting the fog generator. Good job there are light houses to help discern reality through fog.

  5. More PR Gloss expected today…

    An indefinite extension to the existing moratorium… ie No Legislative Legal ban which Holyrood could have easily after many years have enforced…

    This effectively leaves the door open to the Shale Gas industry…

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