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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

ANBCouncil backs motion against fracking

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has backed a motion at a meeting on Monday evening against the practice of fracking.

The motion was brought to the council meeting at Mossley Mill by Dunsilly Alliance Councillor Jay Burbank who urged members to oppose the practice of hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking), which he said “if practised in our borough would have significant implications on residents and the natural environment”.

Cllr Burbank asked the council to support the preferred policy option (of the Department for the Economy paper) of a moratorium on all forms of exploration and extraction of oil and gas, to be followed by the introduction of a legislative ban.

Dunsilly Alliance Councillor Jay Burbank.

He noted this would “not only bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the United Kingdom on the issue of fracking but go further by legislating for all other types of petroleum exploration or extraction”.

Cllr Burbank told the meeting the motion is “timely and pertinent to residents in our borough, particularly those who live on the shores of Lough Neagh”, suggesting that granting “even one licence could have wide-ranging implications” on the water table, for example, through “pumping chemicals into the ground” and potentially causing “environmental damage”.

The motion was seconded by party colleague Macedon Cllr Billy Webb BEM who described the practice of fracking as “absolutely frightening” and is something that “should be avoided”.

Also supporting the motion, Antrim SDLP Cllr Roisin Lynch said: “The SDLP are committed to and absolutely stand against fracking going forward for our environment. It would add nothing to the climate emergency to extract from under the surface.”

Glengormley Sinn Fein Cllr Michael Goodman stated: “I think it is an extremely important motion. Hopefully it will get cross-party support.”


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