Northern Ireland: SDLP pledge to introduce permanent ban on fracking

SDLP pledge to introduce permanent ban on fracking by Derry Now, February 21, 2017

SDLP Foyle Assembly candidate and former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has said his party fundamentally opposes the introduction of fracking in Northern Ireland – and has pledged to develop legislation to permanently ban all exploration and extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing across the North.

Mr Durkan has also said he will continue to champion the introduction of climate change legislation here to help drive environmental innovation and create new jobs in Derry and throughout the North.

He said: “As Environment Minister, I took the bold decision to introduce a moratorium on fracking – which led to legal proceedings against me – but ensured that a presumption against fracking is embedded in Strategic Planning Policy.

“However, the issue of fracking hasn’t gone away. Late last year the current Tory government intervened to overturn Lancashire Council’s decision to reject an application for exploration of shale gas.

“The Tories are also proposing a compensation scheme for affected households in England – but no amount of compensation can remedy the irreversible damage caused to the environment and local communities.

“Legislation and law is the only way that Northern Ireland’s interests can be protected – and that is why our party has tabled a Private Members Bill on fracking which would lead to a permanent ban.

“Scotland has now moved to ban fracking while there are currently proposals put before the Dail in the South to introduce a similar ban. In this sense, there is a great need to ensure that the North is not left behind.

… “People should be under no illusion – if a power sharing government cannot be formed following the Assembly election, it will be Tory government policies that will be enforced here. This would have a devastating impact on a number of decisions – not least to do with fracking or the environment.

“There is only one way to avoid that. People should vote for parties that will work together, parties that will share power, parties that will form an alternative government. The choice is simple – we can have deadlock, division and direct rule or we can have change.

“I would therefore urge people in Derry to vote for the SDLP on March 2nd – who have a strong track record of delivering the creative, bold and decisive change that the North needs.” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2017 02 02: Ireland is set to become the first country to completely stop funding fossil fuels

2016 10 20: Government withdraws motion to delay frac ban! Ireland: “This is our time to make history,” says Love Leitrim’s Eddie Mitchell. Bill to ban fracking to be debated in the Dáil October 27, 2016

2016 06 09: Three legislative proposals now in Republic of Ireland to ban Fracking: Tony McLoughlin tables private members bill: “To protect Ireland’s onshore and internal waters, our climate and, as such, Irish citizens’ public health from the damaging effects of exploration and extraction of onshore petroleum.” ]

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