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Too much ignorance clouds fracking debate

AS a professional engineer in the oil sector I am concerned at the way the fracking debate is progressing.

The main problem is that there is no shortage of people expressing an extreme view on the subject while having little or no knowledge about a fracking operation and the associated risks.

The current arguments presented by the 'No' campaigners are analogous to someone with a City and Guilds in basket weaving demanding a cessation to all building activity in Northern Ireland in response to a collapsed house in Bangkok.

Whether fracking can be conducted safely depends on a multitude of factors – well depth, aquifer depth, rock strength and fluid pressure. In some cases it is not viable.

Neil C Oliver (Write Back, August 4) states that it was irresponsible for the minister to comment on the drilling operation. This is not the case – it is the responsibility of the minister to know what natural resources are available and it is due diligence that any fracking study be based on actual data recovered from the exploration well.

I have no problem if the final decision is a ban on fracking in Fermanagh, but such a ban should not be based on broad-brush, copy-and-paste statements from foreign lands; it must be based on a sound review of the engineering and environmental impact by specialists, elected representatives and the residents of Fermanagh.

STEVE W McWILLIAM BEng, CEng

Crumlin, Co Antrim

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