TAMBORAN’s first move to fracking

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tamboran belcoo
Source: Ban Fracking Fermanagh  https://www.facebook.com/BanFrackingFermanaghCampaign

Tamboran have made their first move in the night and a convoy has arrived at the ‘back quarry’ of the Acheson & Glover site to install fencing and construct a concrete pad for a drill rig, which is reportedly not yet on site (see photos +map below, +btw. it is our understanding that this part of the quarry is no longer owned by A&G). A local resident met the convoy at the double corners near Letterbreen at 5am this morning, found out it was heading to Acheson & Glover back quarry and alleges it was escorted by police; local PSNI have been asked about that and have come back to us saying they did not escort the convoy but rather met it on the road. Tamboran’s notification of local residents amounted to a letter, dropped through a very small number of letterboxes this morning in Belcoo, stipulating that they have permission to drill on that site. People are expected to gather peacefully at the site tonight @7pm – that’s the back quarry, at Cleggan – so please pass along the word. The map below shows the quarry’s location, the entrance point and the 2 closest turns off the A4 (Sligo Rd) that should get you there. Unity in peace and dignity will be the order of the day.

Now, the wording of Tamboran’s licence – which amounts to a contract with DETI – strongly implies that to legally go ahead with the borehole drilling stage, they must have completed a comprehensive seismic survey in the area, which they have not. Failure to carry out the seismic survey (the terms for which are laid out in the license) could mean AUTOMATIC LICENSE TERMINATION – i.e. if they drilled without completing this stage of investigation, they could then be operating within rights granted by a license which has already been terminated [confirmation of this from DETI is being awaited]. The confirmation and relevant excerpts from the license and referenced legislation will be posted in the next few days so everyone can see for themselves.

Had the seismic survey been carried out, the next requirement of the license would be for Tamboran to notify the DoE that they wish to exercise their PD (Permitted Development) Rights and drill, which could mean they would have to provide an Environmental Impact Statement on the repercussions of this 800m borehole, and then wait for the decision of the DoE (who are repeatedly saying they are snowed under at the moment, so that should take some time). The requisite letter of notification was handed in to the DoE this morning; since their first staffers were in at 9 a.m. that means the letter was handed in hours after the prep convoy was already in Belcoo and work had begun there. A few hours ago a DoE senior planner confirmed that normal good practice in this situation consists of a developer having to wait until DoE Planning confirms whether PDRights apply of. If PDRights *don’t* apply, then the submission of a full planning application is required in order to complete any exploration drilling; if they *do* apply, Tamboran would then have to notify DETI, who would then make a determination on whether the borehole could go ahead.

The DoE have been most helpful so far with enquiries, and now this page http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/media-centre/news-departments/news-doe/news-doe-210714-tamboran-notifies-doe.htm has appeared on their website, stating:

“Commenting on the notification, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan [has] said “The energy firm Tamboran today notified my Department of its intention to drill an exploratory borehole in Fermanagh. Under planning rules, this type of exploratory drilling may fall under ‘permitted development’. However, before the company is given permission to proceed, a full “screening” process under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations will be required to ensure that there is no potential for significant environmental impact. I will ensure that this screening process is rigorous and definitive before permitted development rights are considered.
If any aspect of this development is likely to have a significant environmental impact, permitted development rights will not apply. I have instructed officials to consider carefully whether or not these rights apply and I will make a statement about the Department’s decision in due course.”

So there you have it! We will bring you information of how the public will be able to participate in the EIA when we get it. For now, share this everywhere, tell everyone about meeting up tonight, and see everyone out there who can make it. Lets remember, unity in peace and dignity