Scottish Green MSPs, who gathered almost 6,000 signatures on a petition calling on the UK Government to halt licenses for fracking in Scotland, are welcoming comments from the UK Government that it will suspend the current licensing round.
UK energy minister Matt Hancock is quoted in today's Scotsman saying the UK Government agrees "no new licences be awarded in Scotland as part of the 14th licensing round".
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said:
"Scottish Greens have gained huge public support for our principled stance on fracking, and in the aftermath of the Smith Commission we urged the UK Government to halt the imminent licensing of fracking as this power is due to be devolved.
"Though it's taken a lot of work to drag this decision out of the UK Government, I'm very glad that we've finally achieved a common sense position allowing these decisions to be taken here in Scotland. It also gives worried communities a further breathing space but it is important than we remain ready to fight any fracking proposals. The Scottish Government's moratorium is only temporary and does not yet apply to already licensed proposals for underground coal gasification in areas like the Firth of Forth."
Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have been campaigning against unconventional gas extraction since the 2011 election. Leading Holyrood's first debate on the issue last year, they proposed a ban. All other parties voted against it.