N. Ireland sets up ‘precautionary principle’ on shale gas fracking as part of energy review

Shale gas signThe N. Ireland devolved government has introduced a new precautionary principle against shale gas fracking as part of its new strategic planning policy.

This provides the policy on issues such as town centres and retail development, building in the countryside, creating and enhancing shared space, tourism, telecommunications, housing – and energy.

Environment Minister Mark Durkan said: “Publishing the strategic planning policy unlocks development potential, supports job creation and will aid economic recovery but not at the expense of our planet, environment and people.

“It consolidates more than 800 pages of existing policy into a single document and brings clarity and certainty to important planning matters.

“Significantly, it also sets in black and white, for the first time, as policy, no to unconventional hydrocarbon extraction, often referred to as fracking. This could only change in the future if the Department is satisfied that there is sufficient and robust evidence on all environmental impacts of fracking.

Commenting on the process in producing the planning policy, Durkan added: “There were significant issues raised which were beyond the scope of finalising the SPPS, particularly in relation to strategic policy for renewable energy and strategic policy development in the countryside.

“As such, I now intend to undertake a full review of these matters. This review work will incorporate extensive engagement with key stakeholders.”

See also:

England steps on the (shale) gas with new £30m test drill programme, while Scotland stagnateshttp://goo.gl/zEOloq

SNP’s Westminster Energy spokesman sets out the Five Fracking Tests for UK shale gas sectorhttp://goo.gl/s3qoVm

When Scotland’s shale energy industry led the worldhttp://goo.gl/BE2wub

Shale and Safety: get the fracking facts right from the Royal Society of Edinburghhttp://goo.gl/BMO6Xp

Last week, the UK Shale Energy Conference was held in Glasgow by the Scottish Energy Association.

Colin McNaught, Chairman, said: “The Scottish Energy Association deliberately decided to become involved in the UK shale energy debate to foster and promote knowledge and understanding on shale gas and the fracking process and to ensure greater understanding of the economic and environmental issues of all forms of energy”

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed