Fracking Licences: Legal Challenges

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 14th September 2020.

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Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance 3:15 pm, 14th September 2020

T2. Mr Carroll asked the Minister for the Economy, in the light of the fact that, in January, her Department wrote that if it did not give fracking licences to Tamboran Resources and EHA Exploration, it would leave it open to legal challenge, to explain why that was the case and to state whether the same rationale would follow that if he were refused planning permission for his house, he could sue also. (AQT 352/17-22)

Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP

I thank the Member for his question. Currently, we are not exploring the issue of licensing. In fact, we are looking at and collating the responses to the applications that are with us. We are doing some research on the overall topic. Be assured: this is a controversial and cross-cutting issue. It will be a matter on which every Executive party will give a view. Therefore, when the time comes, whatever the recommendations from the Department may be, they will go to the whole Executive for a decision.

Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance

I respectfully disagree, Minister. I do not think that fracking is controversial. It is crazy, and it is dangerous to the environment. That has been proven by multiple people.

I have already raised this issue with the Minister. My constituents, and many constituents across the North, still await a decision on an application that would give a private company the right to drill for petroleum across the North. Can she give a commitment to them that she will not proceed with granting that licence?

Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP

I refer the Member to my previous answer.