The Scottish Government is currently finalising its policy position on the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
As part of that process the Scottish Government is inviting views on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and partial Business, Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) of their preferred policy position, that the Scottish Government does not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
These assessments are necessary before the policy position can be finalised and are the latest steps in the approach that the Scottish Government has adopted on this issue.
On 28 January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. This prevents hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane extraction taking place.
Scottish Government undertook a far-reaching investigation into unconventional oil and gas, including a four-month public consultation, Talking “Fracking”, which concluded in May 2017 and received more than 60,000 responses. You can read more about Talking Fracking here: https://consult.gov.scot/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/fracking-unconventional-oil-and-gas/
On 24 October 2017, the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of the Scottish Government’s preferred position of not supporting the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. This preferred policy position was set out in a written statement on the Scottish Government website on 07 December 2017.
The practical effect of the current moratorium, and the on-going policy-making process, is that no fracking or other unconventional oil and gas activity can take place in Scotland at this time. Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website at: https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas
Any policy decision that has potential for significant environmental effects must be subject to a SEA prior to its finalisation. These requirements are set out in the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. A Strategic Environmental Assessment is a means of considering the likely significant impact of a public plan, programme or strategy on the environment.
As there is potential for significant environmental effects, either as a consequence of industrial activity or as a consequence of not permitting an unconventional oil and gas industry, a SEA is required before the policy is finalised.
Similarly, as there is potential for business and regulatory impacts, either as a consequence of industrial activity or as a consequence of not permitting an unconventional oil and gas industry, a BRIA is required before the policy is finalised.
A partial BRIA has been produced help to assess the likely costs, benefits and risks of the preferred policy position and views are invited on its contents. The final BRIA will build on the partial BRIA and the consultation analysis.
The consultation will close Tuesday 18 December 2018.
When providing views to this consultation on the SEA Environmental Report, the preferred policy position statement and the partial BRIA, there is no need to restate views already covered in the 2017 Talking “Fracking” public consultation analysis report, as these have been, and will continue to be, taken into account as the Scottish Government finalises its policy position on unconventional oil and gas.
Responses to the consultation are invited via the Citizen Space portal: https://consult.gov.scot/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/preferred-policy-position-on-uog/
Alternative formats can be made available on request via UOGSEAConsultation@gov.scot