Ineos loses fracking case


By Russell Bruce

Scottish Government win case against fracking

The rejection of the petitioners case is a win for the Scottish Government and the careful handling of the issue by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse. It is a win for the environment, a win for a new direction in energy production, breaking from a past reliance of fossil fuels and it is a win for campaigners.

The Court of Session has today rejected a petition by Ineos Upstream Ltd and Reach Coal Seam Ltd that sought to challenge the Scottish Government’s actions in relation to unconventional oil and gas – which includes fracking and coalbed methane extraction.

Welcoming the Court’s decision, the Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation Paul Wheelhouse said:

“I welcome the Court of Session’s ruling on this

Paul Wheelhouse

important issue, which has been a cause of acute concern in communities across Scotland.

“This decision  vindicates the extensive process of research and consultation which the Scottish Government has undertaken since 2015.

“As I set out in October, our preferred position is not to support Unconventional Oil and Gas extraction in Scotland, and that position remains unchanged.

“I have repeatedly set out to parliament that we would undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) ahead of finalising that position and that approach has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the Scottish Parliament.

“The work to complete the SEA and a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment is currently underway and the findings will be carefully considered.

“In the meantime, a moratorium is in place which means no local authority can grant planning permission and Ministers would defer any decision on any planning application that did come forward until the policymaking process  is completed. The practical effect of the current moratorium and the policymaking process which is underway to finalise our position is that no fracking can take place in Scotland at this time.”

Scotland is an energy rich country and can make choices  that favour the environment. Those choices must continue to be Scotland’s to make. May’s power grab puts much at risk including today’s win. Westminster could determine that fracking can take place anywhere in the UK regardless of the views of local populations and their elected governments.


  1. For now.
    What happens when Gove or his successor,give permission for INEOS to start fracking in Scotland (once they take back control from Holyrood)?
    Westminster will need to take back control of Scottish policing and a raft of other things in order to implement this.
    And they will,if we don’t stop them.

  2. Bringiton

    I am afraid that you are indulging your fantasies again. Local authority planning is not a power coming back from Brussels under Brexit. More than that, the Smith Commission legislation vests authority over onshore oil and gas in the Scottish government. There is not a sign that this will be changed. We may well be foolish enough to ban fracking but continue to import fracked gas from the USA ( all to save the World). But nobody from London will stop us….


    • As far as I know,the present hiatus in fracking activity is not a planning issue but an environmental impact assessment by the SG.
      That is what Westminster is proposing to take back control of.
      The Smith Commision has been shown to be a complete fraud as Westminster has declared they can pass any legislation affecting Scotland whether we like it or not,including ignoring democratically taken decisions of our parliament.
      Anyone who thinks they won’t is deluding themselves,or more likely trying to delude others.

      • It’s an environmental decision, but the ban is being implemented by local authority planning permission rules, because Westminster *has* granted fracking rights in Scotland.

        Basically, the companies have permission to frack, but don’t have planning permission to build the fracking plant.

    • ‘We'(the Scottish people? The Scottish government? William Ross, Bringiton and myself?) do not import unconventional gas. Ineos import unconventional gas. It is private company.

  3. Bringiton

    Westminister is presently proposing to take over certain powers which are presently exercised in Brussels. I am glad that none of them are staying in Brussels which is where the SNP want to leave them! How odd for a nationalist party!

    The Smith Commission may have been a “fraud” but it was a fraud which John Swinney signed up to.

    The Sewel Convention will continue to apply when we are in “normal” times. Brexit, which is actually a state secession, is not “normal” I would thought that to be obvious.


    The Ineos refinery complex at Grangemouth represents some 4% of Scotland’s economy. Its closure would be a total disaster for the Scottish economy. Remember what happened when that was threatened some years ago?
    Grangemouth needs fracked gas to survive and no-one in the SNP ( or anywhere) is going to complain. We just want to exclude our country from the benefits of the fracking industry in order to save the World. Crazy.


    • Westminster intend to remove the PRESENT powers Holyrood has over environmental issues,nothing to do with Brussels.
      As many others have explained,Brexit is incompatible with devolution and that is what is driving current Tory policy with regard to Scotland.
      They cannot allow a Scottish government to undermine their “negotiations” with Europe or anyone else for that matter.
      It is becoming clear what aspects of the Scottish economy they wish to control but the question is,to what purpose?


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