NI agriculture minister 'to block fracking' on department land

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Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has said she will attempt to block any plans to use "fracking" on land owned by her department.

Fracking is a controversial method of extracting gas from shale rock.

Australian mining company Tamboran has been granted a licence to explore for gas in the border counties of Fermanagh and Leitrim.

The licence area covers thousands of acres of forestry land owned by the Department of Agriculture.

If approval is sought to extract the gas using hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the minister said her department would have to be consulted.

In a letter to her party colleague, assembly member Phil Flanagan, Mrs O'Neill said she would not agree to fracking taking place on land owned by the department.

She said she was both "personally and politically concerned" about the process and any potential impact it could have on the environment.

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