Gregory Campbell says ‘fracking’ must not be allowed if lacking local consent; Jim Shannon says DUP opposed fracking in manifesto

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DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said the extraction of natural gas should not be allowed if it is unsafe and lacks local consent while his colleague Jim Shannon has claimed ‘the DUP has opposing fracking in its manifesto for NI’.

The East Derry MP made the remarks during a debate on local consent for fracking in the British House of Commons.

Mr. Campbell said ‘no Government should permit it to proceed’ if ‘the safety of any extraction process and local consent’ are in doubt.

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Mr. Shannon, meanwhile, claimed the DUP has opposed ‘fracking’ in ‘its manifesto’.

Anti-fracking posters.Anti-fracking posters.
Anti-fracking posters.

"The Member for East Londonderry is absolutely right about where we are; the DUP has opposing fracking in its manifesto for Northern Ireland,” he said.

The ‘Journal’ searched the last ten DUP manifestos – Assembly, Westminster, Local and European dating back to 2011 for mention of fracking, hydraulic fracturing, drilling or shale gas but was unable to find explicit reference.

The Department for the Economy had proposed a moratorium and eventual legislative ban on all forms of onshore petroleum exploration.

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However, the lack of an Executive has meant a policy position could not be agreed in order to move forward with legislation.

The erstwhile DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons recently informed SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin that a draft Executive paper submitted on the future of onshore petroleum licensing policy in the last mandate had not been signed off.

"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.