Anti-fracking campaigners urge public to submit views on Northern Ireland gas licences

Australian mining company already has permission for shale gas exploration in the Lough Allen basin

Anti-fracking campaigners have urged anyone concerned about plans to exploit shale gas in Northern Ireland to make their views known on the scope of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the proposed licensing regime for inland waters.

Australian mining company Tamboran Resources, which is also examining options for fracking in the Republic, has already been granted a "petroleum licence" by the North's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for shale gas exploration.

Tamboran's licence is for the Lough Allen basin, covering about half of Co Fermanagh. Similar licences have been granted to Infrastrata plc for the Lough Neagh basin; Rathlin Energy Ltd for the Rathlin basin and Provident Resources plc for Rathlin Island itself.

The department is developing criteria for a framework to underpin its licensing regime and one of the key elements involves an SEA. Anti-fracking campaigners want this to be as broad as possible, taking into account public health, tourism and the landscape.


The deadline for making submissions on the SEA’s scope is today. They may be sent by email to

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former environment editor