Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has today confirmed a presumption against fracking and unconventional gas developments in Northern Ireland. 

The new Single Planning Policy Statement states: 

“in relation to unconventional hydrocarbon extraction there should be a presumption against their exploitation until there is sufficient and robust evidence on all environmental impacts.”

Reacting to the news Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said 

“Northern Ireland’s vibrant and diverse anti-fracking campaign will be delighted with the formal adoption of this precautionary approach to fracking from the Environment Minister. This presumption against the development of all unconventional fossil fuels is yet another blow to the industry in these islands.  

“Well done to our colleagues in Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland and all those who've fought this dirty, dangerous industry across the Irish Sea.”

The Scottish Government is expected shortly to announce the remit and timescales of work to inform the moratorium imposed on shale gas fracking and coal-bed methane earlier this year.

“Scotland’s politicians should take note of this decision as they assess the threat from fracking and unconventional gas. Unconventional gas is unsafe, unnecessary and opposed by local communities. The Scottish Government should focus instead on supporting the growth of clean, decentralised, renewable energy to help lead the fight against climate change.” 

Notes to Editors 

1. Northern Ireland publishes planning document http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34377268 

2. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the Scottish Government would outline “the full timetable and the research process” of the moratorium on unconventional gas, including a public health impact assessment and public consultation, before the Parliamentary recess on October 10th: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=10088

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups. www.foe-scotland.org.uk