Fracking will be banned in Scotland if Jim Murphy becomes First Minister in 2016.

The Labour leader has also called on the SNP to use existing planning powers to block the controversial practice.

Mr Murphy said the environmental case for fracking, a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock, has not yet been made and that under his leadership, it would not take place until effective safeguards were in place.

In a move that is likely to be viewed as a pitch to traditional Labour voters and those who are considering backing the Greens, he said fracking would be banned north of the border until lessons from the rest of the UK were learned. He also pledged that a local referendum and a comprehensive review of environmental conditions would have to be held before planning permission was granted.

New powers over fracking are set to be devolved to Scotland under the Smith Agreement process and Labour has called on the UK Government to issue no licences for fracking until control is transferred.

Mr Murphy said that members of the public were "rightly concerned" about shale gas and that he would not allow Scotland to become a "guinea pig for fracking".

He added: "If I am elected first minister in 2016 there will be no onshore fracking in Scotland until it has been shown beyond all doubt that it can be carried out safely.

"The SNP Government in Edinburgh already has a veto over fracking through planning and permitting. The First Minister should use these powers now to stop any fracking taking place in Scotland."

The Green Party has already called for UK Government to suspend its plans to award licenses to frack for gas across Scotland. A petition launched by the party on Monday has been signed by more than 5,000 people.

WWF Scotland welcomed the policy announcement and called on the Scottish Government to "come off the fence". However, Mr Murphy was accused by Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser of "desperate scrambling around" for "issues which give him political traction".

"It was only last year that all parties came together to help secure the future of the Ineos plant at Grangemouth," he added. "That relies on the supply of shale gas - and simply opposing it will only threaten this vital plant again."

Meanwhile, Ken Cronin, chief executive of industry body UK Onshore Oil & Gas, said a moratorium of fracking in Scotland would "achieve nothing".

He added: "One of the first hydraulic fractures in the UK took place in Airdrie nearly 50 years ago and fracking also took place inside the Glasgow city boundary in 1989 at Easterhouse. Scotland is therefore no guinea pig.

"Onshore Gas and Oil is also important for jobs both in terms of extraction but also those supporting the raw material production in places such as Grangemouth, which go into everything from medicine and clothing, through to buildings vehicles and computers."