In the US, fracking - or hydraulic fracturing - has become widespread and has led to local environmental pollution causing serious health problems in communities where fracking has occured.
There are already proposals to commence test drilling at various sites around Scotland. I believe a moratorium on fracking is necessary until a full investigation on the environmental impacts of this industry is understood.
In Lancashire, Caudrilla Resources have commenced test drilling. Recently, drilling was stopped at a site near Blackpool because of the link with earthquakes in the region.
But the main concern here is with the cocktail of chemicals used in the fracking process, many of which are known toxins. Although regulations are tighter here than in the US, nevertheless there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the effects of the fracking process on local communites.
Also studies have shown that methane can be leaked during the process. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas - 20 times more so than CO2. So it therefore essential that more is understood about the potential environmental and health impacts of the process before it is allowed to go ahead.
The trailer for the film Gasland (above) gives a brief overview.
So please sign this petition today and send a clear message to the Scottish Government to uphold its commitment to sustainable development.
Want to take further action? Then join Frack Off Scotland.
What is fracking?
Fracking is the extraction of methane (or shale gas as it's sometimes known) from shale rocks deep beneath the surface. It involves drilling a well down to the shale rock bed followed by the pumping of a cocktail of water and chemicals into the rock at high pressure. This causes the rocks to fracture, releasing the gas which is then collected.
Why call a moratorium?
As noted above, the shale gas industry in the US has left a legacy of irresponsible and reckless exploitation.
It is only right that any responsible Government should put the welfare of it citizens before corporate ambition and profit and conduct a proper peer reviewed scientific Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Will fracking become safe in the future?
This will depend on available scientific evidence, not just in Scotland but also elsewhere where the industry operates.
It's possible that there will still be an element of uncertainty over health and safety and environmental impacts.