Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Scottish Government’s ‘Talking Fracking’ consultation, on unconventional oil and gas.  We have been working with communities on the frontline of this industry in Scotland, and campaigning for a ban on fracking and all forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction for over 6 years. In that time, evidence of the potentially harmful impacts of UOG extraction has only continued to grow, while at the same time the urgency of the climate crisis, and therefore the need to phase out fossil fuels has critically increased. Meanwhile, the industry patently remains unable to demonstrate the safety of hydraulic fracturing and other techniques used to extract unconventional oil and gas in relation to impacts on human health and the environment, as the precautionary principle demands.

In the context of the climate crisis, for a hydrocarbon rich country like Scotland to open up a new source of fossil fuels while it remains committed to continued exploitation of North Sea oil and gas reserves would be completely irresponsible; it would jeopordise our carbon reduction commitments and run counter to the Scottish Government’s efforts to be a world leader on climate action. In view of all of this, the only reasonable course of action for the Scottish Government is to ban all forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction.

We call on the Scottish Government to join the growing number of countries around the world that have legislated to ban unconventional oil and gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing. A ban in law is without a doubt the most effective way of protecting communities and the environment from the immediate and longer term impacts of the industry; of providing certainty for communities in large parts of the country currently under, or proposed for license; and of sending a strong signal to investors and industry that there is no place for unconventional fossil fuels in our energy system.