Leitrim County Council has not and will not be changing its Development Plan to instate an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing, until such time as the Government determines national policy on this method of gas extraction.
Responding to correspondence from John Cranogue on proposed amendments of the County Development Plan to ban hydraulic fracturing in Co Leitrim, local County Council Manager, Jackie Maguire said that she had previously advised that councillors could not amend the plan to put in place an outright ban and that situation remained unchanged.
Speaking at the recent Council meeting, Ms Maguire noted that any change in the County Development Plan had to be made in accordance with Government Policy.
“And the fact is that the Government has yet to rule on hydraulic fracturing on a national level,” she noted.
“Until that outcome is decided and the Minister makes a decision on it, hydraulic fracturing does not form part of any national policy and you cannot amend the Development Plan to put in place an outright ban.”
Councillors Martin Kenny and Gerry Kilrane sought further clarification on the possibility of amending the Plan in the future.
“If the national policy is changed moving against hydraulic fracturing then we can amend our Development Plan to reflect that,” acknowledged Ms Maguire.
Cllr Kilrane said there was “clearly still a mistaken belief that councillors could change the Development Plan regardless of the national policy”.
“People who are concerned about this issue should contact the Minister on this matter. It is clear that changes must be effected from the top down and not by trying to get change at the bottom level, in the Local Authority,” he said.