'Fracking' research is discussed at NSMC meeting

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Research into hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was one on the matters discussed at a recent meeting of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) on environmental matters, the environment minister told the Assembly, on 14 May 2013.

Alex Attwood said that, following initial research by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, a more comprehensive research study was planned.

The illegal cross border movement of waste was also the subject of discussion at the NSMC meeting.

The minister said work to clear up two sites, at Seskinore and Eskra in County Tyrone, had been completed with more than 15,000 tonnes of waste removed.

Air quality, the carrier bag levy, blue flag beaches and air quality were also discussed.

In reply to a question about road safety from Sinn Fein's Bronwyn McGahan, Mr Attwood said there had been four pedestrians killed on Northern Ireland's roads so far in 2013 compared with none in the same period last year so there was clearly a problem with pedestrian safety.

On the subject of fuel laundering, the minister said that if it was true that a third of hauliers in Northern Ireland were using illegal fuel "then I believe it requires an escalation in response".

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