Fracking 'cannot and will not take place in Scotland,' energy minister says

Mark Runnacles | Getty Images

Scotland's energy minister has said that fracking "cannot and will not take place in Scotland."

Paul Wheelhouse said Tuesday that the Scottish government had a "moral responsibility to tackle climate change and an economic responsibility to prepare Scotland for new low carbon opportunities."

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Wheelhouse's statement that the Scottish National Party (SNP) would "not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland" sparked applause from some members of the parliament.

"Taking full account of the available evidence and strength of public opinion today, my judgment is that Scotland should say no to fracking," he said. This position would be reflected in the SNP's finalized energy strategy, which would be published in December, he said.

The decision drew praise from environmental groups. "It's excellent news the Scottish government has listened to the thousands of people, campaigners and politicians across the country who have been calling for a permanent ban to fracking," Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said in a statement.

Ken Cronin, the chief executive of U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas, said the decision was a poor one which ignored "Scotland's rich heritage and expertize in oil and gas."