The vigorous blossoming of community activism around the independence referendum in 2014 found many focuses. One was opposing fracking.

Thousands of people, many new members of the SNP, started campaigning against the technology, but by the time ministers introduced a temporary moratorium in 2015, the policy no longer looked radical. Campaigners and opposition parties wanted a complete ban.

Since then, ministers have had to defend the moratorium, almost looking at times as if they were protecting the industry. It’s not easy when you have to abide by due process. Our exclusive report today that ministers are preparing to announce a permanent ban on fracking is a significant moment, which should also cure the SNP’s fracking headache.

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A ban is likely to be widely welcomed. The nature of the prohibition will be intensively scrutinised to make sure it is legally watertight, but assuming it is, the argument will be essentially over.

In banning fracking, Scotland will align itself with many other countries in the world. Only England and the US are still enthusiastic.

But of course it leaves a host of questions about Scotland’s future energy policy unanswered.

In the programme for government in September, Scottish ministers showed vision in talking about phasing out fossil fuel vehicles from 2032, tackling pollution and reducing waste. Now it is time to be truly ambitious. Scotland should see the ban as a break with the past - the age of carbon is retreating and we must embrace more green technology, and aim to become a shining example of how a modern nation can meet its energy needs, without destroying the planet and compromising the future.

An inevitable risk is that such worthy aims will get hijacked by wealthy corporations or individuals out to make fat profits. It falls to the Scottish Government to make sure that in forging our green future, it has the interests of the many, not the few, at heart.