Fracking: Health Impact Assessment

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

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Photo of Rachel Woods Rachel Woods Green 3:15 pm, 14th September 2020

T4. Miss Woods asked the Minister for the Economy, on the very important issue of fracking, whether, in relation to the petroleum licence application PLA2/16 in Fermanagh, a health impact assessment of the cumulative impacts of the full development of the Fermanagh shale basin across the lifecycle of the project has been stipulated as part of her Department’s research process. (AQT 354/17-22)

Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP

I thank the Member for her question. We are, as you know, doing research into the wider impacts. Health will be part of that research, and I look forward to sharing the research and, indeed, to maybe sitting down with the Member and discussing these issues in further detail as we get towards a conclusion of the process.

Photo of Rachel Woods Rachel Woods Green

I thank the Minister for her answer. I will be very happy to meet the Minister. The Department claims that, although adverse effects on human health can be associated with shale gas production, there is evidence in scientific literature to demonstrate how effective measures can mitigate the risks to reduce them to an acceptable level. Can the Minister outline how fracking can be regulated for with limited impact on public health?

Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP

We have no intentions for regulation in that direction at this time. As I said, I am happy to talk about the health implications of any and all of these processes with the Member.