The Scottish government has announced an immediate ban on fracking, following overwhelming public opposition to the controversial process.
Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said the gas extraction technique will be outlawed after more than two years of consultation and research into potential impacts.
Image: Scottish protesters with placards outside a site in Grangemouth
The news was welcomed by environmental campaigners, who called the decision “a victory for the environment”.
Friends of the Earth Scotland said the decision to ban the “dirty industry” was one that would be “welcomed across the country and around the world”.
Calling the Scottish government’s conclusion “right and sensible”, they said it was necessary to “avoid potentially devastating impacts to people’s health, the climate and our natural environment”.
WWF Scotland said: “The climate science is clear. The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground. It’s fantastic Scottish ministers agree that we need to start placing them off limits.”
Image: Equipment used for fracking
A request for public feedback attracted more than 60,000 responses – 99% of which were opposed to fracking.
“Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland,” said Mr Wheelhouse.
“I can confirm the conclusion of the Scottish government is that we will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.”
But Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart said the decision meant Scotland’s economy was being “left behind”, saying that up to £4.6bn in goods and services and thousands of jobs would have been created by fracking.
Video: Cops stop our fracking protest test
Mr Lockhart said: “This much-needed economic boost and these jobs will now be created outside of Scotland, thanks to the SNP.”
By using planning regulations to extend the temporary ban “indefinitely”, the Scottish government has avoided the need to make a new law.
A debate and vote will take place in Scottish parliament later this month.
During the summer, clashes between police and anti-fracking demonstrators took place in Lancashire after protesters locked themselves into heavy iron tubes to avoid being moved.
Source: Sky News