Fracking ban held up by lack of Executive

A ban on fracking in the north has been held up due to the absence of an Executive, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has said.

Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin asked Mr. Lyons for an update on his Department’s progress on the preparation of legislation to ban fracking.The minister replied that a draft Executive paper submitted to Ministerial colleagues on the future of onshore petroleum licensing policy in the last mandate has not yet been signed off.

"It sought agreement to the Department’s preferred policy option to introduce a moratorium and eventual legislative ban on all forms of onshore petroleum exploration and production in Northern Ireland, including fracking. No decision was taken on the paper by the Executive.

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“As I have stated previously, Executive agreement will be required prior to public consultation on a preferred policy option as onshore petroleum licensing is a cross cutting and controversial issue. Appropriate legislative action will be taken forward once a policy position is adopted,” said Mr. Lyons.

A fracking ban has been held up due to the lack of a functioning Executive.