Fracking ‘State of Play’ March 2020

Fracking: unconventional oil & gas exploration and extraction using high volume hydraulic fracking. Below is a short synopsis of current issues regarding fracking.

UK mainland: ‘Fracking for the time being is over’.  However there continues to be planning applications brought forward for exploration wells.

The Irish Government still has a ban on fracking but is happy to go ahead with the import of fracked LNG [liquid nitrogen gas] from the USA.  Thus they are ‘out-sourcing’ their fracked gas but never-the-less still causing ill health and refusing to accept the climate change emergency is already happening.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, we finally have an Executive again. The Department of Economy for Northern Ireland intends to undertake a review of both its Minerals and Petroleum licensing regimes and the Minister has approved the procurement of independent research into both topics. This is likely to be completed over the next six to nine months. It is welcomed that this review is happening, the public were already promised in the past, via the ‘all island study’ that health impacts of fracking would be considered. However health was not fully considered in that study. Government Departments have a history of trying to ‘shut out and close down’ the health issues relating to fracking. They do this by creating artificially narrow definitions of health.  It is vital that Public Health is at the heart of future reviews and decision-making. See CHPNY health compendium at

We [FFAN and the wider public] need to canvass all the Stormont parties on what is their position with regards to onshore petroleum exploration and extraction in Northern Ireland. We insist that our MLAs have the health implications of fracking as outlined by the ‘CHPNY compendium’ centre-stage to Ministers licensing review. If health is genuinely central to the review, as it must be, then it is obvious that fracking must be banned in Northern Ireland.

Many MLAs still support searching for oil and gas, and are happy to make a false distinction between exploration and extraction and will seek to split hairs on this issue. Our elected representatives must accept that fossil fuels are no longer the way forward and that gas is not a transition fuel.

Extraction of fossil fuels has no place in the third decade of the 21st century, so exploration should not even be an option. We should not waste energy [pardon the pun] and money on a dying industry. Instead we must use our limited time to ensure that our Executive moves a rapidly to a low carbon economy. To this end FFAN encourage all sign the petition at:

Thank you.   Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network

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Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN)