Unconventional oil and gas policy: BRIA

Business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) of our policy position on development of onshore unconventional oil and gas (UOG).

Implementation and delivery plan

The adopted policy will also be reflected in the draft of the next iteration of the National Planning Framework (NPF4). This draft is expected in the parliamentary session 2020/21. When they come into force, the provisions of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 will mean that Ministers cannot adopt the National Planning Framework unless Parliament have approved it – a significant change from previous iterations. The National Planning Framework sets the context for development planning in Scotland and provides a framework for the spatial development of Scotland as a whole. It sets out the Government's development priorities over the next 20-30 years and identifies national developments which support the development strategy.

Certain powers in relation to onshore oil and gas licensing were devolved on 09 February 2018. Commencement of sections 47 to 49 of the Scotland Act 2016 transferred powers for:

  • granting and regulation of licences to search and bore for and get petroleum within the Scottish onshore area;
  • determining the terms and conditions of licences; and
  • regulating the licensing process, including administration of existing licences.

The regulation, including setting, of the consideration payable for a licence remains reserved. In addition, the UK Government has powers to revoke a licence on the basis of failure to make payments due under the licence.

In addition to the policy of no support for unconventional oil and gas being a material consideration for planning decisions, Scottish Ministers will discharge their devolved licensing powers having regard to the adopted policy position of no support for unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. Therefore, given the terms of our finalised policy, we do not anticipate granting any new unconventional oil and gas licences in Scotland.

Post-implementation review

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 sets out that the time period for review of the National Planning Framework is extended to 10 years.


Email: onshoreoilandgas@gov.scot

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