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McMullan welcomes proposed changes around licensing for drilling

6 June, 2016 - by Oliver McMullan

Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has welcomed comments by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard to amend legislation around Permitted Development Rights in the wake of controversial drilling at Woodburn.  

Mr McMullan said:

"There are serious concerns about the handling of the process about how the application for drilling was handled at Woodburn.

"Was former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan asleep at the wheel during his tenure in office given the serious concerns and risks associated with oil explorations including air pollution, oil spills, chemicals, noise pollution and increased traffic?

“It’s scandalous that a licence was granted by the former Department of the Environment without a full environmental impact assessment.

"There are also concerns that exploration including for hydrocarbons is covered under Permitted Development Rights which are really designed to deal with minor housing issues.

“When these rights were granted it allowed the company to go ahead with drilling activities without any need for planning permission.

"It is unacceptable that these activities are allowed under Permitted Development Rights.

"It is also unbelievable a licence was granted in this area given that two of the reservoirs in the Woodburn area are Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

“I welcome therefore the proposal by Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard to ensure this can't happen again.”

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