Scottish Green MSPs are welcoming the new position on fracking and other forms of unconventional gas extraction announced today by the Energy Minister but are warning that it still falls short of a full ban.

Scottish Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone have been campaigning against unconventional gas extraction since the 2011 election. As well as proposing a ban, which all other parties voted against, they have urged ministers to provide funding for local authorities to develop robust policies to handle any fracking applications.

A Scottish Green petition calling on the UK Government to halt the imminent awarding of licenses to frack for gas across Scotland has achieved over 5,700 signatures since being launched last week.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"A year ago the First Minister said shale gas was an undoubted opportunity; today the Energy Minister announced a pause but asks us not to rule it out. It is clear that the sustained pressure we've been putting on the Scottish Government has paid off, but we do not intend to rest here.

"The SNP and Labour voted against a ban last year when I led the Scottish Parliament's first debate on fracking. While a delay to allow for further research is a welcome step, it remains a worry that neither SNP ministers nor Labour are talking about ruling it out.

"Leaving the door ajar to a new wave of fossil fuels is incompatible with our climate change ambitions and risks diverting attention and investment from the undoubted opportunity we have to pursue clean technology and energy efficiency."