Coal extraction - call for evidence

Closed 2 Aug 2022

Opened 21 Jun 2022

Feedback updated 15 Oct 2022

We asked

The Scottish Government is undertaking a full policy development process in order to reach a finalised position on coal extraction in Scotland, in line with statutory requirements.  The first step in this process was the launch of a call for evidence which ran from 21 June to 02 August 2022, which invited stakeholders’ views on the extraction of coal in Scotland. 

You said

Stakeholders provided a range of responses to the question Considering the information presented in this call for evidence paper, and your own knowledge and experience, what are your views on the extraction of coal in Scotland?.

We did

Having considered stakeholders’ views and the evidence received alongside wider Scottish Government energy and climate change policies, the Scottish Government's preferred policy position is no support for coal extraction in Scotland. 

This preferred policy position is subject to statutory and other assessments before the policy-making process can be completed.  The preferred policy position on coal extraction will be included in the impact assessments, including Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the wider Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, the draft of which is due to be published by the end of 2022. The finalised policy position will be confirmed on conclusion of this process.

Results updated 3 Jan 2024

Coal extraction: consultation analysis published 15 October 2022

Coal extraction: preferred policy position published 15 October 2022

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Scottish Government is transitioning to a net zero emissions Scotland for the benefit of our environment, our people, and our prosperity, with Scotland’s ambitious climate change legislation setting a target date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

This means that our contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within one generation. In line with this commitment, our Programme for Government 2021/22 states that “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is incompatible with our climate obligations and meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement”.

In a post-COP26 world, it is more important than ever that we move towards this goal at pace, and continue to put words into actions. This can be clearly demonstrated in the Bute House Agreement formalised in September 2021, which states that:

“given the urgency of the climate emergency, we accept that countries around the world, including the UK, cannot continue with unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met - we cannot ignore the concern that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is simply incompatible with protecting the planet”.

Our emissions reduction targets are at the heart of Scottish Government policy, as outlined in our December 2020 Climate Change Plan update, our plans for a just transition, and our Energy Strategy. Our Energy Strategy, which will be refreshed during 2022, will include a comprehensive range of policy positions for related areas; this includes coal extraction. We are therefore undertaking an evidence-gathering process to establish our finalised policy position on coal extraction in Scotland.

This consultation does not set out or advocate a preferred Scottish Government position or policy.

Read the call for evidence.

Why your views matter

This is an opportunity to contribute views and evidence on the development of coal extraction policy in Scotland in order to ensure that Scottish Government delivers a robust and fully-evidenced policy position in line with our energy needs, statutory requirements, and climate change ambitions.

What happens next

Following the call for evidence closing date, all responses will be independently analysed and the consultation analysis report will be considered as part of the policy development and finalisation process. The analysis of responses will be published in full.

The Scottish Government is required to undertake relevant statutory and other impact assessments, including a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, prior to policy finalisation. The draft policy position on coal extraction will be included in the impact assessments of the wider Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, with the finalised policy position being confirmed on conclusion of this process.


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