Updated: 22/03/17 : 04:56:54
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Sligo Council CEO wants fracking ban removed

A recommendation from the Chief Executive Officer of Sligo County Council to remove the ban on fracking from the Draft County Development Plan has been slammed by Independent councillor Declan Bree.

The recommendation will be considered at a special meeting of the County Council on Monday next when councillors assemble to discuss the Development Plan.

In June last year councillors unanimously supported a motion from Councillor Bree to include an outright ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the county’s new Draft Development Plan.  

In the intervening period the Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Mr David Minton, made a submission to the Council stating that “such planning policy bans are ultra vires and accordingly should not be incorporated into the plan in this way.”

As a result of the submission from the Regional Assembly, the Chief Executive of the Council Mr Ciarán Hayes, has now recommended to councillors that the ban on fracking be removed from the County Development Plan.

'Unacceptable'

Speaking to SligoToday, Cllr Bree said he found the recommendation from Mr Hayes “unacceptable”.

“As far as I am concerned there is no justification for attempting to have the fracking ban removed from the Development Plan.   It is worth noting that when I first tabled my motion to include the ban on fracking in the plan Mr Hayes indicated that he was unhappy with it and he specifically said that the format and wording of the motion was not appropriate for a Development Plan or policy document.” said Cllr Bree.

“However the members of the Council, responding to public opinion, voted unanimously to adopt the motion to ban fracking in county Sligo.  In this context I find it unacceptable that the Chief Executive would again intervene so as to have the ban on fracking removed from the Development Plan.

“The fact that the Director of the Regional Assembly and the Chief Executive of the Council are taking such a stance should ring alarm bells for those who are hoping that the Dail will get around to passing the private members Bill to prohibit fracking.   I believe we need to nail this matter down now.  

“Given the strength of evidence already available and continuing to emerge, and taking into consideration the dangers that fracking poses to water quality, to human safety and to the general environment it would be unacceptable for the Council to allow fracking in county Sligo.” said Cllr Bree.

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