McPhillips to push for total ban on fracking

Fracking Quarry
THE future of fracking in Fermanagh is set to come before Stormont in the new year, after one local Assembly member proposed an outright ban on the practice right across the North. 
MLA Richie McPhillips has this week tabled a Private Members Bill for new legislation which could result in a ban on all exploration and extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing across the six counties. 
The move by the SDLP MLA comes after his party colleague, then Environment Minister Mark H Durkan made a commitment to ban fracking in policy. However, Mr McPhillips pointed out this was something that could be overturned by the Conservative Government in Westminster.
“We have seen the current Tory Government intervene to overturn Lancashire Council’s decision to reject an application for exploration of shale gas,” said Mr McPhillips. “We do not want to see the same intervention here.
“The Tory Government are also proposing a compensation scheme for households in England but no amount of compensation can remedy the irreversible damage caused to the environment and local communities. Therefore, legislation and law is the only way that Northern Ireland’s interests can be protected and that is why I have tabled a Private Members Bill.”
Mr McPhillips said there was precedent, and need, for the North to enact the bill.
“Scotland has now moved to ban fracking while there are currently proposals put before the Dail in the South to introduce a similar ban,” he said.  “In this sense, there is a great need to ensure that Northern Ireland is not left behind.
“It is my intention to launch a public consultation in early spring 2017 and I would urge as many people as possible to respond.”“It is my intention to launch a public consultation in early spring 2017 and I would urge as many people as possible to respond.”


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