Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Yes to fracking at present would be reckless - Durkan

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today stated that agreeing to fracking at present would be reckless and irresponsible.

The Minister was responding to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday in favour of fracking.

Mark H Durkan highlighted that no decision should be taken until all facts and scientific evidence are established.

He also re-assured the public in Northern Ireland that fracking could not take place in Northern Ireland without his say so.

Mark H Durkan said: “At present there is no planning application for fracking in Northern Ireland. If and when any application comes in, it will be for me to decide, not David Cameron. I am not going to make any decision until all the facts and scientific evidence are established. To do otherwise would be reckless and irresponsible. Do we need to extract shale gas? Can it be done safely? Would it be done responsibly? These are the responsible questions. All facts are not in. The scientific evidence is far from being established. No fracking for Fermanagh, no fracking for Northern Ireland, as things stand.

“I am not though sitting on my hands here, simply waiting for a planning application to come in. I have asked my officials to get us to a position of best knowledge possible here. This means reviewing existing research, analysing new studies, studying case studies from other parts of the world and liaising with counterparts in other Environment Agencies in Britain and Ireland. Remember also, there is a big cross border issue here - shale gas beneath the surface will not follow the meanderings of a border above ground.

“So decisions based on fact, a process ensuring best possible knowledge is acquired, is my strategic way forward”.
 

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