MPs in the House of Commons discussed this issue on Monday as part of an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill; however, the amendment was defeated by the Government.
Naomi Long said she made her decision due to the mixed evidence of the impact on the environment of the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
“There is evidence in some shale beds, the process impacted negatively on local aquifers and polluted water supply. The hydraulic pressure can also lead to land tremors during any extraction process.
“Whilst this may not have much of a significant impact away from major population centres, the Government is looking at licensing extraction under people’s homes, which could affect buildings insurance and increase the risk of property damage.
“Whilst gas is a cleaner fuel than coal or oil, it is still a fossil fuel and a finite resource. In comparison to other natural gas sources, the risks of extracting shale gas are also much higher. We need to intensify the development and roll-out of renewables which have massive potential and before proceeding with fracking, we need further research as to the potential benefits and risks, which is why I supported the moratorium.”