"I am…announcing a moratorium for the granting of planning consents on all unconventional oil and gas extraction including fracking," Ewing told the Scottish parliament Wednesday, as quoted by the Guardian.
The minister stressed that "it would be inappropriate to allow any planning consents" as Scotland's government was planning to launch a full public consultation on fracking. According to Ewing, the government would also be working to further strengthen planning guidance and environmental regulations and will commission a full public health impact assessment on fracking.
On Wednesday, a motion was introduced in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) imposing a moratorium on fracking across Europe, warning that the controversial drilling technique leads to increased pollution of water supplies, air pollution and other environmental hazards.
The motion was signed by delegates from several countries, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and Poland.
Fracking, is a technique by which shale gas is extracted through the injection of a toxic fluid mixture deep underground at high pressure. Fracking fluid contains water mixed with sand and various chemicals, including uranium, radium, methanol, mercury and lead. Environmental experts have proven that the fracking process leads to the contamination of groundwater with toxic materials.