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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-02605: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government whether the drilling of boreholes solely for the purpose of core sampling to assess shale and coal bed methane resource requires planning permission at all times.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 28 September 2016

In line with the Scottish Government’s evidence-led approach to unconventional oil and gas, only boreholes to extract core samples are not included in the moratorium. Boreholes for test fracking or hydrocarbon flow testing are prohibited under the terms of the moratorium. Core sampling allows analysis of data including stratigraphy and rock properties.

Any proposal for a borehole would also need to demonstrate that it will be undertaken in collaboration with an independent research body (such as the British Geological Survey) or academic institution.

A company seeking to drill a borehole to acquire a core sample would also need to obtain all the necessary regulatory consents. These would include planning permission from the relevant planning authority and an environmental permit from SEPA. It would then be for regulators to determine whether or not the site is acceptable and whether drilling should be allowed.