Economy Minister Proposes Fracking Ban In Northern Ireland

Economy Minister Conor Murphy has announced his intention to bring forward proposed legislation to ban onshore oil and gas exploration and production in Northern Ireland.

The Minister said that one of the key objectives of his Economic Vision is to reduce carbon emissions, and a move from petroleum to renewables is essential to meeting NI's net zero targets.

Minister Murphy said: "I intend to ban all forms of onshore petroleum exploration and production – including fracking. This will not only help us transition from fossil fuels to renewables but also towards a greener economy and more sustainable way of life.
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"The Department for the Economy currently has the power to grant licences to companies to search for and extract onshore oil and gas.  My department recently consulted on the petroleum licensing system. The consultation opened on 15th January and closed on the 12th of April. The vast majority of respondents to the consultation supported the move away from fossil fuels."

Highlighting the current bans in other jurisdictions, the Minister continued: "The south of Ireland and Wales have recently banned all onshore petroleum activity, and Scotland has taken action on hydraulic fracturing, known as 'fracking'. It is now time for us to act.

"I will soon ask Executive colleagues to approve a ban and, if this is granted, I will introduce legislation to this Assembly to ban onshore petroleum licensing. This will require amendments to the Petroleum (Production) Act (Northern Ireland) 1964 and other regulations."

The Minister concluded: "The time involved in drafting the legislation and allowing for committee scrutiny means that the legislation will be introduced in 2025. In the meantime, my department will not accept or process onshore petroleum licensing applications."

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