Unconventional Oil and Gas addendum consultation
We have been asked by Scottish Government to share information about their Unconventional Oil and Gas addendum consultation. This follows on from a consultation in October 2018 on An Environmental Report for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Government's preferred policy position, updated preferred policy position and a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA).
The Scottish Government continues to take a cautious, evidence-led approach to considering unconventional oil and gas. On 03 October 2017, the Scottish Government set out a preferred position that it does not support onshore unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. The preferred policy position is subject to statutory and other assessments before the policy is adopted.
An Environmental Report for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Scottish Government's preferred policy position was published in October 2018, alongside the updated preferred policy position and a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA). Views were invited on the contents of these documents, and the Scottish Government's preferred policy position, during an eight-week consultation from October to December 2018. The responses are currently being analysed; the Scottish Government is grateful to all those who took part in the consultation process.
Scottish Ministers remain committed to transparency and public engagement on this important issue. As confirmed via Parliamentary Question on 26 March, the responses received to the recent consultation have led the Scottish Government to form the view that it would be helpful to provide some further clarification on a number of points raised in response to the consultation documents, specifically regarding the preferred policy position and its objectives. The Scottish Government is also taking the opportunity to update its position on the reasonable alternatives to the preferred policy position which were considered as part of the SEA process.
Our approach to the addendum consultation is in line with the cautious, evidence-led approach we have consistently taken towards the development of an unconventional oil and gas policy for Scotland. This is an important issue with strongly-held views on all sides, and it is only right that we continue this approach as we move towards confirming and adopting a final policy.
I can confirm that the Scottish Government has today published an addendum to the SEA Environmental Report, the preferred policy position statement and the partial BRIA, and will invite further comments on the points covered. Responses to the addendum will be considered in detail prior to any policy position being adopted.
In line with the initial consultation in late 2018, the consultation will run for eight weeks until 25 June, after which the responses will be analysed. Our final policy on unconventional oil and gas will be confirmed as soon as possible after this process is complete.