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Fracking ban gets overwhelming support in Holyrood vote

MSPs voted to back the ban on unconventional gas extraction by a count of 91 to 28.

Fracking: Technique poses environmental risks (file pic).
Fracking: Technique poses environmental risks (file pic). 70023venus2009

A ban on fracking in Scotland has been backed by MSPs.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced earlier this month planning regulations would be used to "effectively ban" the gas extraction technique by extending the current moratorium "indefinitely".

MSPs voted overwhelming in favour of the ban on Tuesday by a count of 91 to 28.

Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats called for it to be incorporated into the national planning framework, making it harder for any future governments to overturn.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting high pressure water into shale formations, fracturing the rock to release natural gas, and has been opposed by all parties except the Conservatives.

Mr Wheelhouse said 99% of respondents to a public consultation backed the ban and government-commissioned research "does not provide a strong enough basis from which to address these communities' concerns".

He said: "The Scottish Government has concluded it is in the public interest to say no to fracking. The steps we have taken have given immediate effect to this position."

He added the approach chosen prevents "unnecessary legislation".

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the debate and vote in Holyrood marked a "historic moment" for Scotland with the shift away from fossil fuels but added: "It's time to put in place a watertight ban with a firm basis in planning law."

He said: "The risk that the fracking technologies pose to the climate and to communities far outweigh the economic benefits they could ever deliver. It's just not worth it."

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