A consultation on the Scottish Government's preferred policy position on unconventional oil and gas (UOG), the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report, and partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)

Closes 18 Dec 2018

Opened 23 Oct 2018

Overview

The Scottish Government is currently finalising its policy position on the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.

As part of that process we are inviting views on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and partial Business, Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) of our 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 cautious, evidence-led approach 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, which prevents hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane extraction taking place.  This created the space in which the Scottish Government was able to undertake one of the most far-reaching investigations into unconventional oil and gas of any government, including a four-month public consultation, Talking “Fracking”, which concluded in May 2017 and received more than 60,000 responses . 

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.

Why We Are Consulting

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.

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.

Give us your views

Audiences

  • People of Scotland

Interests

  • Business, Industry and Innovation
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Environment and Climate Change