Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens' economy and energy spokesperson, says today's announcement from the Scottish Government about fracking and underground coal gasification poses further questions for ministers.Patrick tenements for web

The timetable outlined today for a process of evidence-gathering and consultation shows that the public won't be formally consulted until winter 2016/17. Underground coal gasification, which ministers previously said they had no control over, will also be covered by a moratorium.

Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have been campaigning against unconventional gas extraction since the 2011 election. Alison led Holyrood’s first debate on the issue in May 2014, proposing a ban. All other parties voted against it.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Today's announcement shows that consistent pressure on ministers from Greens, campaigners, communities and even members of the SNP is working. Ministers previously said underground coal gasification was out of their hands but they've done the right thing by bringing it into the moratorium.

"Uncertainty remains for thousands of communities across Scotland who still don't know what the Scottish Government's long-term policy is. It's a worry that the energy minister is still asking people to see what he calls 'potential opportunities', when it is clear that further extraction of fossil fuels is incompatible with Scotland's climate change responsibilities and poses huge risks to our communities and our economy.

"As we head towards the 2016 election it is clearer than ever that the best way to say no to fracking and other risky fossil fuel developments is to elect more Scottish Green MSPs."