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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

I disagree with the premise of the member’s question. I will explain why. We commissioned an economic impact study from KPMG. In the central scenario, which was thought to be the most likely one—taking out planning constraints and the fact that not all sites would receive planning consent—it was predicted that there could be £2.2 billion of turnover and £1.2 billion of economic benefits in Scotland up to 2062. That is a very long period of time. The study said that the industry would contribute approximately 0.1 per cent of gross domestic product on an annual basis and that, at peak, it would support 1,400 jobs in the economy—that figure includes the supply chain and indirect effects. It identified cumulative additional UK tax receipts of £1.4 billion over the period up to 2062.

I appreciate that Mr Halcro Johnston disagrees with us, but he might be overstating the economic impact of a fracking industry in Scotland. In relation to his point about cost, I emphasise the cost of mitigating the climate emissions that the UK Committee on Climate Change identified, which, in the same scenario, would amount to at least 0.4 megatonnes of additional emissions annually, even with the strongest regulatory environment in place. The considerable costs of mitigating those emissions must be set against the relatively modest economic benefits. I am sure that Mr Halcro Johnston will be familiar with the scale of the figures that we are talking about to implement the climate change plan.