Ineos launches legal challenge to overturn fracking ban
The firm claims the Scottish Government made 'serious errors' during the process.
Energy giant Ineos will launch a legal challenge against the Scottish Government's ban on fracking.
The petrochemical company, whose Scottish operations are based at Grangemouth, will seek a judicial review of the decision, which it claims is "unlawful" and contained "very serious errors".
Fracking involves liquid being pumped at high pressure into deep wells to crack the underground rock surface to capture shale gas.
A temporary ban on the practice was levied by the Scottish Government in 2015.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced in October last year that the devolved administration intended to use planning regulations to "effectively ban" the industry "indefinitely".
Tom Pickering, operations director at Ineos Shale, said: "The decision in October was a major blow to Scottish science and its engineering industry, as well as being financially costly to Ineos, other businesses and, indeed, the nation as a whole.
"We have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the ban and have therefore applied to the court to ask that it review the competency of the decision to introduce it."
The current ban does not prohibit the importation of shale gas from abroad to Scotland.
Last year, Ineos shipped 27,500 cubic metres of ethane fracked in the United States to its facility in Grangemouth.
The firm has plans to expand its shale operations in Scotland.
Ineos' petition for a judicial review has been lodged alongside co-venture partner Reach at the Court of Session, the country's highest civil court, arguing there was a "failure to adhere to proper statutory process and a misuse of ministerial power".
In response to the petition, Wheelhouse said: "We have taken a careful and considered approach to arriving at our preferred policy on unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
"The Scottish Government's position was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament in October, subject to completion of a strategic environmental assessment, and follows detailed assessment of the evidence and consultation with the public."