When asked yesterday to comment on the UK government’s shale and oil gas regulatory roadmap, a Scottish Government spokesman said that ‘there’s been no change to our position since we published the Independence White Paper last month.”
This White Paper said: “Decisions about alternative fuel sources, or the appropriate energy mix, will be a matter for future Scottish Governments”.
A Scots government spokesman added: “We welcome the publication of this regulatory roadmap, which should provide further clarity to local communities and potential developers on the regulatory and licensing system in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government strongly endorses the appropriate and robust regulation of drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) associated with the extraction of shale gas.
“The Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change recently announced a strengthening of planning policy in relation to unconventional gas – showing that this Government listens to local communities and to those calling for stronger environmental protection.
“As with proposals for all types of energy projects, any applications for coal-bed methane or shale gas projects in Scotland will be studied on their merits. Each proposal will be considered through the normal planning process and the appropriate regulatory regimes, including SEPA’s guidance on the regulation of shale gas and coalbed methane.
“There are no projects which propose the use of fracking techniques in Scotland at this time.”
Murdo Fraser MSP, (pictured) Energy spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives in Holyrood, commented: “We welcome the publishing of the UK Government’s regulatory road map for shale oil and gas and would urge the Scottish Government to do likewise.
“This roadmap along with the Strategic Environmental Assessment report underlines the positive steps being taken at Westminster towards creating an indigenous shale gas industry. Hard pressed consumers and businesses will also welcome this announcement.
“Independent bodies, industry leaders and politicians are among a growing chorus of voices enthused by the potential of shale gas as a low-carbon, low-cost fuel of the future.
“The North Sea oil and gas industry has provided the UK with some of the most skilled drilling experts anywhere in the world and we can only retain these skills by providing new opportunities. The Scottish Government must get on board before this opportunity is lost.”
* In October this year Professor Mike Stephenson, Director of Science and Technology at the British Geological Survey (BGS), announced that BGS would begin surveying the Central Belt for shale gas after March 2014. When published, it will provide a more accurate picture of the level of resources in Scotland.