The Scottish government has announced a ban on fracking operations to allow a full public consultation on the controversial matter.
Ministers will delve into the environmental and health implications of extracting shale gas by fracking. Further planning consents will not be granted to oil and gas companies for now, until Scotland gains full control over fracking after May’s general election.
The announcement by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing comes after MPs in the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected a UK-wide moratorium, which would have ruled out fracking for shale gas.
"I want to ensure that the voices of the communities likely to be most affected are heard, and are heard in a more formal and structured way,” said Ewing addressing the MSPs at Holyrood
"I am therefore announcing today that in addition to the technical work I've referred to on planning, environmental regulation and upon assessing the impact on public health, Scottish ministers will also launch a full public consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction.
"Given the importance of this work, it would be inappropriate to allow any planning consents in the meantime.
"I'm therefore announcing today a moratorium on the granting of planning consents for all unconventional oil and gas developments.
"This moratorium will continue until such time as the work I've referred to today has been completed,” he added.
According to figures from a new poll on fracking released on Wednesday, more people are opposed to the process of fracking in the UK than back it. Of those surveyed, 40 per cent were against it, while a quarter were in favour.
Hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – pumps water, chemicals and sand at high pressure underground to fracture shale rock and release the gas trapped in it.