Reacting to the news that the UK Government will probably not decide on new licences for unconventional gas and fracking in advance of the powers transferring to the Scottish Government, Mary Church, Head of Campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Its good news that the UK Government agree in principle that no new onshore oil and gas licenses should be issued in Scotland ahead of those powers being devolved to Holyrood. This is logical move, and an additional layer of protection for communities across Scotland, following the welcome introduction of a moratorium on shale gas fracking and coalbed methane.

“However communities should be informed exactly where companies have applied for licenses so that they are better informed as to risks and able to engage in Scottish Government’s imminent consultation exercise on unconventional gas extraction.

“We urge the UK Government to additionally devolve full licensing powers for underground coal gasification, an extremely risky and experimental technique. The Scottish Government should use the same powers to halt underground coal gasification as it is using to stop shale gas and coalbed methane until full licensing is devolved.”

Notes to Editors

1. Scotsman story: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/no-scots-fracking-licences-unti…

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.