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Prospecting Licences

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 November 2015

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Questions (1127)

Joan Collins

Question:

1127. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on whether the granting of onshore options licences granted to companies (details supplied) to prospect onshore in the north-west carboniferous basin and the Clare basins complied with the Aarhus Convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37473/15]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I assume that the Deputy’s reference to compliance with the Aarhus Convention is made in the context of the public’s right to participate in decision-making in environmental matters, for example projects affecting the environment, or plans and programmes relating to the environment. Granting of a Licensing Option of itself is not a permission to carry out a project that would affect the environment. The work programmes carried out under the Licensing Options were primarily of a desk-top study nature. Had the holders of the Licensing Options proposed to undertake projects likely to have a significant effect on the environment then such activities would have been subject to Environmental Impact Assessment, which would have included public participation. The companies would have also had to hold a Petroleum Prospecting Licence and the process through which such licences may be granted also involves public participation.

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