We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Talking ‘Fracking’: A Consultation on Unconventional Oil and Gas - Analysis of Responses


Annex 3: Data validation

This annex provides details about the data validation process – i.e. the process of determining the total number of consultation responses.

Number of responses received

As noted in Chapter 2, the consultation received 61,328 submissions. Of these, 21,077 (34%) were standard campaign responses received through one of the organised campaigns, and a further 31,033 (51%) comprised signatures to a petition. The remaining 9,218 responses (15%) were either: (i) non-standard campaign responses, (ii) responses submitted directly to the Scottish Government by email or post, or (iii) responses submitted via the Scottish Government's online consultation hub. Together, these personalised non-standard campaign responses and individually drafted responses are referred to as 'substantive responses'. (See Table A3.1.)

Validation of responses

All non-standard campaign responses and all responses received by email or post were entered into a database together with the responses submitted via the Scottish Government's consultation hub. This database therefore initially contained 9,218 responses.

The 21,077 standard campaign responses were not entered into the database. However, the analysis takes into account the statements submitted through all the campaigns in relation to each of the consultation questions, and the number of campaign responses received have been reported on a question-by-question basis.

Comments received with petitions (n=8,375) were also not entered into the database. However, a separate analysis was undertaken to identify the main themes in these comments, and the findings of this analysis have been reported together with the other views expressed in relation to relevant questions.

Of the 9,218 responses initially entered into the database, 793 were removed for a variety of reasons:

  • 85 were found to be entirely blank.
  • 131 were identified as invalid. To be classed as 'valid', responses had to have the respondent's name (both a first name or first initial and a surname) and their contact details (an email address, a postal address, or a complete postcode). Any responses not including both the respondent's name and their contact details were removed from the database as invalid.
  • 79 were found to be identical duplicate responses sent by the same (79) individuals. Duplicate responses generally occur when a respondent submits their response electronically via the consultation hub and also sends a copy by email or post. In these cases, one of the responses is retained and the other is removed.
  • 2 responses initially submitted to the consultation were later withdrawn by the respondent.
  • 1 was identified as correspondence not intended as a response to the consultation.

Table A3.1: Number of responses received

Response type Submission route Standard campaign or other identical responses Substantive responses (including non-standard campaign responses) Total responses (n)
Campaign responses
Avaaz 100 596 696
Broad Alliance (postcards) 946 384 1,330
Friends of the Earth Scotland (online) 15,088 1,284 16,362
Friends of the Earth Scotland (postcards) 4,574 9 4,583
Greenpeace 251 2,815 3,060
Scottish Greens 1,129 1,122
South Lanarkshire Against Unconventional Gas (SLAUG) 118 1 119
Sub-total, campaign responses 21,077 6,218 27,295
% of total 61,328 34% 10% 45%
Petition signatories
38 Degrees (includes 7,303 comments) 21,326 21,326
Change.org (R Dunster) (includes 1,072 comments) 5,174 5,174
Children's petition 43 43
Our Forth 185 185
Scotland Against Fracking 4,305 4,305
Sub-total, petition signatories 31,033 31,033
% of total 61,328 51% 0% 51%
Received through other routes
Email / post 129 129
Scottish Government consultation hub* 2,871 2,871
Sub-total, received through other routes 3,000 3,000
% of total 61,326 0% 5% 5%
Total responses submitted 52,110 9,218 61,328
% of total 61,328 85% 15% 100%

* Includes 52 Broad Alliance campaign responses and 14 group discussion responses.
Note that percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.

Finally, it was found that 445 respondents had submitted two or more different responses to the consultation. (The maximum number of different responses submitted by a single individual was five.) Multiple different responses from the same individual were combined to form a single amalgamated response. This response, containing all the comments from all their responses, was retained in the database and included in the analysis; all the other responses from that individual were then removed. Thus, for the purposes of analysis, the respondent was counted only once. Through this process, a total of 495 responses were removed.

Following the removal of blank, invalid, duplicate and multiple responses, there were 8,425 substantive responses from 8,425 respondents in the database. (Table A3.2 summarises the process of validating the responses.)

Table A3.2: Number of substantive responses included in the analysis

Number of responses
Number of substantive responses received 9,218
Number of substantive responses removed
Blank responses –85
Invalid responses –131
Duplicate responses –79
Multiple different responses from a single individual –495
Responses removed for other reasons –3
Total responses 8,425

Thus, the analysis was based on 60,535 responses. As shown in Chapter 2 (Table 2.3) this comprised:

  • 8,425 substantive responses (14%)
  • 21,077 standard campaign responses (35%)
  • 31,033 petition signatories (including 8,375 comments) (51%)