FRACKING company Tamboran initiated legal action against two Stormont Ministers today.

The Australian exploration company is seeking leave to apply for a Judicial Review against Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

The cases were listed in the High Court in Belfast today, however, they have been listed for mention again next month.

In August, the Environment Minister rejected Tamboran’s proposals to drill an exploratory borehole near Belcoo without planning permission. He ruled that the drill plans constituted Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development requiring full planning permission and that permitted development rights did not apply.

He said: “I have concerns that this is an existing quarry where unauthorised extraction has taken place. I believe there is insufficient information to establish what environmental impacts may have already arisen as a result of these unauthorised activities. Therefore, it is not possible to assess the environmental impact of the drilling cumulatively with other unknown environmental impacts of unregulated activity.” On September 30, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster decided not to grant Tamboran a further extension to its Work Plan and ruled that, because the company has not fulfilled the terms of its licence, that licence has come to an end. She told The Impartial Reporter: “I dealt with Tamboran on the specifics of its licence so this shouldn't be seen to be a message to other companies that Northern Ireland is closed for business.” At the time, a Tamboran spokesman said: “After investing in excess of £3 million (US $5 million) to date, we are disappointed that DETI failed to consider the option of a temporary extension ... This decision as it stands could close the door on a project that could deliver up to 50 years of secure energy supply, in excess of 2,000 jobs and billions of much needed investment in the local economy.”