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Scotland’s Onshore Unconventional Oil and Gas Policy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

As a keen follower of football, that sounds to me like the definition of thresholds for introducing video assisted referees.

We have been consistent in our view that this has been an exercise in policy development rather than legislation. We do not consider that legislation is necessary to control unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. The adoption of our strong policy provides the most appropriate and proportionate means of regulating such development, having regard to the objectives of the final policy.

However, as Mr McArthur has asked about it and I know that the issue is of interest to Claudia Beamish, Mark Ruskell and others, I will say that the option of legislation remains open if there is evidence that further action is required. Should that be the case, I will be happy to work with Claudia Beamish, Liam McArthur and others to consider legislative steps. It is worth pointing out that any legislation would require similar statutory assessments to be completed and, therefore, a similar timescale to achieve the outcome that we are talking about. In terms of the legislative powers that have now been passed to us through the Scotland Act 2016, we would be more likely to look at using the licensing framework to specify the technology that would be allowed in Scotland. That could constrain the nature of unconventional oil and gas extraction developments.