A former scientific adviser to the government who helped to prepare a report in favour of fracking in Scotland has accused ministers of treating expert evidence with contempt.
Professor Paul Younger accused the Scottish government of having “taken flight from reason” for imposing a moratorium on fracking for shale gas, driving away investment and jobs in the ailing energy sector.
He warned that any scientist following “basic norms of professional integrity” would refuse to work with the SNP administration in future.
He said that Scotland’s failure to embrace the technology was playing into the hands of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, because western countries would be forced to rely on supplies of Russian natural gas.
Several companies have expressed an interest in fracking for underground deposits of gas in central Scotland but have been held back because of a Scottish government moratorium.
Mr Younger, the Rankine chairman of engineering at the University of Glasgow and an expert on the energy sector, said the government had undermined its own report on fracking by a task force of scientific advisers, published in July 2014.
Despite setting out that “the technology exists to allow the safe extraction” of shale gas, the moratorium was imposed in January last year on environmental grounds.