Mark Durkan, environmental minister for Northern Ireland, has warned against fracking in Co Fermanagh, or anywhere in the country, unless it is proven to be adequately safe for people and the environment.
Ahead of visiting protests at the proposed fracking site in Co Fermanagh, Durken has stated that applications from fracking companies will be “considered in a robust manner.”
Protestors at the quarry site near Belcoo have maintained a 24-hour presence since last week, as drilling company Tamboran Resources intend to begin searching for shale gas, much to the despair of local residents.
Durkan has added, “I am acutely aware that the fracking issue is causing great distress to local people in Fermanagh.
“I will be meeting with residents and elected representatives later in the week to hear their concerns at first-hand.
“I have been consistently clear that no fracking will happen on my watch unless there is strong scientific evidence that it is safe for public health and the environment.
“That evidence simply does not exist at this time,”
He added, “If any aspect of the Tamboran exploratory borehole drilling is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, permission to proceed will not be given.”
Fracking has become a controversial issue of energy exploration, as environmental groups have consistently opposed the plans, gaining increasing public support.
However, the UK government has recently announced a broad free-for-all for shale and gas exploration, which even threatens national parks and conservation areas, as well as people’s property.
Bernice Swift, Fermanagh councillor, has demanded the council executive be recalled to discuss the implications of the fracking site near Belcoo, with plans to refuse the company access.
This move has been condemned by Ukip MLA David McNarry, who said they must support fracking, otherwise, “we risk being left behind, and we can’t afford that.”
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