Unconventional oil and gas


In October 2015, the Scottish Government announced a process for carrying out an evidence-based assessment of the potential impacts of developing onshore shale oil and gas and coal bed methane, collectively referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources, in Scotland. This process involved commissioning a wide-range of research into the potential impacts of exploration and exploitation of this natural resource.

As part of this initiative, we carried out a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in order to answer three specific questions:

  1. What are the potential risks to health associated with exploration for and exploitation of onshore unconventional shale oil and gas and coal bed methane?
  2. What are the wider health implications of deploying the technology necessary for the exploration and exploitation of shale oil and gas and coal bed methane?
  3. What options could there be to mitigate any potential adverse impacts that are identified?


View the HIA documents below:

Peer-reviewers’ comments on initial draft report

An independent peer-review process was incorporated to provide external, objective feedback on the methods used and the process followed for the HIA. An initial draft version of the report was reviewed by a number of invited external peer-reviewers, none of whom was directly involved in the HIA process itself. The reviewers' comments have been provided for information. These were written in response to the initial draft report only, not the final report as published. The comments from all reviewers have been analysed thematically and responses provided. The discussion section of the report also addresses points raised by reviewers.

The final report differs substantially from the initial draft report, and incorporated changes to accommodate issues raised by peer-reviewers where this was practical and consistent with the Scottish Government remit for the HIA.

View the comments documentation below:

Stakeholder events

The HIA included input from a wide range of stakeholders in Scotland. The views of stakeholders were gathered through a series of events held in November 2015. These provided interested parties an opportunity to highlight issues of particular concern to them. Three separate events were arranged to address different groups of stakeholders.

View details of the events below:

The information collected at these workshops was used to inform the scoping of the evidence-gathering for the HIA. Summaries of the outputs from these events are provided below, and were included in the final report.

Read the following outputs: