Tamboran have officially announced their intention to bore a hole near Belcoo. Equipment was moved on site at 5am this morning while local residents received ‘information’ about what’s going to happen.
So now the ball is firmly in DOE’s court. DOE are claiming they will only know if full planning permission is required if significant environmental impacts arise out of this one application. Here’s the thing, the Petroleum Licence is what grants Tamboran these permitted development rights.
And what do DOE’s own advisory group state ? CNCC ( while director of Tamboran Dr Tony Bazley was a member) state that the original licence should be subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Lets be clear, one of the main reasons for planning permission is to explain and consult. That there has been no consultation on this licence in the first place, means effectively that Permitted Development Rights have been granted without any consultation what so ever.
For the Minister of the Environment, to allow drilling under these PDRs and claim ‘his hands are tied’ when his own advisers are stating the licence should be subject to further consultation puts the Minister in a bind.
This is going to test whether DOE have fully grasped the significance of this operation, and whether they are going to salami slice the planning application, compounding the non-consultative nature of the licence grant. Its clearly stated in Tamboran’s brochure being handed out to residents here in Belcoo…
“It is the first stage of exploration for natural gas in Fermanagh”. Is the Minister to allow that first stage without any consultation ?