Multinational chemical firm Ineos has hit out today claiming that the Scottish Government said in court it “has not issued a ban on fracking” and that “there may never be one” .
In a statement following the conclusion of today’s court challenge by Ineos against the Scottish Government’s fracking ban, the company’s operations director Tom Pickering said that the government’s claims represent “a staggering U-turn” on fracking policy announced in October last year.
Mr Pickering went on to further attack the government’s position by when he said: “The Scottish people and Parliament may find this revelation barely believable, when the Government has repeatedly told Holyrood that there is an effective and immediate ban.”
A moratorium on the controversial gas extraction technique had been in place in Scotland since 2015 and in October last year energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced that planning regulations would be used to “effectively ban” it by extending the moratorium “indefinitely”.
At the time, he 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”.
Mr Pickering said after court today: “We came to the Court of Session to review the Scottish Government’s position on onshore unconventional Oil and Gas development in Scotland.
“We were astonished to learn during proceedings that the Scottish Government claims that it has not issued a ban on fracking in Scotland, and indeed there may never be one.
“The position of the Scottish Government that has now been stated in court represents a staggering U-turn on the policy direction announced by the Energy Minister during Parliamentary debate in October last year, and by the First Minister when she said in Parliament “Scotland should welcome the fact that fracking in Scotland is banned”.
“The developments during the Judicial Review process undermine the statements made by Ministers and cast further uncertainty and ambiguity across the policy framework for onshore unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. We took Ministers and the Government at their word.
“Sadly we seem to have reached the Alice-in-Wonderland situation where a business has to go to the Scottish courts to establish whether announcements in Holyrood can be taken at face value. As a result there is now an unpredictable and uncertain environment for business in Scotland. Jobs rely on investment, but there is precious little in Scotland at the present time. The current situation makes it harder than ever for business to invest in Scotland for the long term.
“We now respectfully await the judgement by Lord Pentland and will issue a further statement in due course.”