Unconventional Oil and Gas: 2018 Consultation Addendum

Closes 25 Jun 2019

Opened 30 Apr 2019


The Scottish Government is taking a cautious, evidence-led approach to considering unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. On 03 October 2017, the Scottish Government set out a preferred position that it does not support onshore unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. The preferred policy position is subject to statutory and other assessments before any policy is adopted.

An Environmental Report setting out the findings of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Government’s preferred policy position was published in October 2018, alongside the updated preferred policy position statement and a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA). Views were invited on the contents of these documents during an eight-week consultation from October to December 2018. These assessments are necessary before the policy position can be finalised. The Scottish Government is grateful to all those who took part in the consultation process.

The practical effect of the current moratorium on unconventional oil and gas, 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.

The responses received to the 2018 consultation on the SEA Environmental Report, partial BRIA, and preferred policy position statement have led the Scottish Government to form the view that it would be helpful to provide some further clarification on a number of points raised in response to the consultation documents, specifically regarding the preferred policy position and its objectives. We are also taking the opportunity to update our position on the reasonable alternatives to the preferred policy position which were considered as part of the SEA process.

Responses to the addendum will be considered in detail prior to any policy position being adopted. When providing views to this consultation, there is no need to restate views already covered in the 2018 consultation, or as part of the 2017 Talking “Fracking” public consultation, 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.

The consultation will run for eight weeks, with responses accepted until 25 June 2019. Following the consultation closure, the responses will be analysed and published. The Scottish Government’s final policy on unconventional oil and gas will be confirmed as soon as possible after this process is complete.

Read the consultation paper.

Give us your views


  • People of Scotland


  • Environment and Climate Change