NEWS that fracking company Tamboran have packed up and left their base in Belcoo has been cautiously welcomed by local anti-fracking campaigners.
Last week there was quite a stir on social media after reports began to emerge there were workers on site removing fencing at the quarry in Belcoo, indicating Tamboran were leaving the site, which was the scene of tense and passionate protests back in 2014.
When contacted by the Herald quarry owners Acheson & Glover confirmed the fracking company, who had planned to drill a borehole at the site, had left Belcoo.
“Acheson & Glover can confirm that all fencing has been removed and Tamboran are no longer on site,” said a spokesman, who refused to be drawn on what was next for the quarry, with rumours locally there may be plans to reopen the quarry. “We have no further comment to make on our future plans for the site.”
Tamboran said they, however, could not comment on the matter due to an ongoing judicial review into their licence.
“In September 2014 the company initiated legal challenges against the then Departments for Environment and Enterprise Trade and Investment regarding its operations in Belcoo,” said a spokesperson for Tamboran Resources UK Ltd.
“Tamboran’s personnel left the site over two years ago and the site has been inactive ever since. As these matters are subject to live legal challenges we are unable to discuss further at this stage.”
Chairman of Belcoo Frack Free, Tom White, welcomed the move but added that until there was an outright ban of fracking in the North they would always have a fear it could happen in Fermanagh.
“While it’s very good news they’ve pulled out after three years, I would also be very wary as they have legal proceedings active,” said Mr White, who said there had been suggestions for some time now that either Tamboran or others may have alternative sites within Fermanagh and “there may be other deals elsewhere.”
“It is good they are gone from Belcoo,” he added. “It closes the door on one chapter.
“With the bill in the Republic, and hopefully one in the North, we need to be optimistic and keep working to keeping Fermanagh and the entire island frack free.”
Fermanagh MLA Richie McPhillips, who proposed a private members bill in Stormont that would ban fracking, said he hoped his bill could proceed, despite the collapse of the Assembly this week.
“Unfortunately, when the Assembly falls everything falls, including my bill,” he said. “If and when I am re-elected I will continue to pursue it. I look forward to resubmitting it.”
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