The Scottish Government has announced a moratorium on the grant of planning consents for unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland, including hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as"fracking"). The UK Government grants licenses for fracking, but Ministers in Scotland can withhold consent through the planning system and full control over fracking is due to be devolved to the Scottish Government after May's general election, following recommendations of last November's Smith Commission report.

Public opposition to fracking in Scotland, which gained a high profile during last summer's independence referendum campaign, has grown in momentum and the Scottish Government now plans to undertake a full public consultation on the matter, together with further research into the public health impacts and the possible tightening of environmental regulation.

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