I am writing to you as one of my elected representatives to ask you to ensure that your Party’s Stormont Minister will request a change to the Northern Ireland petroleum policy at next week’s Executive meeting. As this is a ‘cross cutting’ issue affecting several Executive departments [Health, Finance, Economy, Agriculture & Infrastucture] then, under section 2.5 of Ministerial code, individual Ministers have the right to request the issue be brought up at Executive level, even if the First Minister and/or Deputy First Minister have not officially added it to the agenda.
On 13. 10. 2020 the assembly voted unanimously to have a moratorium on petroleum licensing. Unfortunately this was not legally binding as the Executive Ministers have not officially discussed and voted on the issue. So as of December 2020 the UOG (Unconventional Oil & Gas) industry is still planning to return to Northern Ireland next year. So it is of vital importance that the Executive instigate the policy change [as voted for by the Stormont MLAs] before 2021. The change in Executive Policy will be a ‘stop-gap’ allowing time for the Private members bill [recently launched] to pass into legislation. This policy change will be a powerful dis-incentive for any UOG considering drilling here. The bill banning petroleum licenses will take 12 to 18 months from now [Dec 2020] before it becomes law.
The change required is as outlined in the 13 Oct motion. The wording of that motion now needs to become NI Executive policy before 18 December 2020 [Christmas recess]. The new wording is thus as follows:
“ The Northern Ireland Executive has from 18 December 2020 an immediate moratorium on petroleum licensing for all exploration for, drilling for and extraction of hydrocarbons until legislation is brought forward that bans all exploration for, drilling for and extraction of hydrocarbons in Northern Ireland.”
The risks of UOG industry to our health, environment, climate, communities, jobs and prosperity is too high to allow these companies a foot hold in the province. So as my MLA please bring to fruition the democratic wishes of the Northern Ireland people as requested by Stormont two months ago.
Name: Address & Email.