Fracking policy for Scotland welcomed

The Church has welcomed a Scottish Government announcement that it will not support the development of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

The move means there is an effective ban on fracking in Scotland for the foreseeable future.

The Church does not believe that the practice is the best way forward.

Discussions about fracking have been held in churches since 2014.

wind farm
Richard Hawley

Church of Scotland climate change officer, Adrian Shaw, said: “We recognise that people in congregations have widely differing views but fracking was always an uncertain prospect in Scotland because of our complex geology.

"Areas that have been identified as being suitable are in the central belt, the most densely populated part of the country.”

In its response to the draft Scottish Energy Strategy, the Church noted that Scotland is dependent on gas for heating nearly 80% of homes in Scotland.

But as the North Sea supply of natural gas runs down, and given a commitment to respond to climate change, it is felt that the time is now to think about how the nation moves to low carbon alternatives to heat homes in the future.

The Church accepts that the challenge now is to use Scotland’s remarkable resources of natural energy - wind, water and tides - to build a new low carbon economy and to ensure that everyone, especially those living in fuel poverty, share the benefits.

Not only does Scotland have the natural resources but it also has the human resources - engineers, skilled workers from the offshore industries and universities and others - to do this.

The Church believes that this approach offers a much better opportunity for jobs and the economy than a dash for gas.

The Scottish Government had a public consultation on the issue.

Those opposed to fracking emphasised the potential for significant, long-lasting negative impacts on communities, health, environment, and climate and expressed scepticism about the ability of regulation to mitigate negative impacts.