Time to close the door on lignite mining
Sinn Féin Environmental Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Minister of the Environment needs to take immediate action to ensure that the issue of lignite mining in North Antrim is addressed once and for all. Mr McKay addressed the Minister at the first meeting of the Assembly's Environment Committee this morning.
Mr McKay said
"A recent WWF report has confirmed that lignite is the dirtiest and most polluting fuel in Europe, and given that fact I think its essential that the new Assembly takes immediate steps to ensure that any plans for a lignite mine and power station here in Ballymoney are stopped once and for all. I have also asked the Minister to look at Planning Policy in regard to minerals to ensure that the presence of lignite in an area does not result in planning applications being turned down.
"Sinn Féin will use our position on this committee to protect the environment, not exploit and destroy it - which would occur if a lignite mine was given the go ahead. After I raised this matter at our meeting the Minister did not voice an opinion on it but did agree to go back and look at the issue in more detail which is welcome.
"As environmental NGOs have pointed out, the current Northern Area Plan still leaves the door open for lignite here to be exploited. Its time that door was closed." ENDS
Note to Editors
The 'Dirty Thirty' report, a ranking of the biggest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting power stations in Europe, proves that twelve of the least efficient power stations are lignite powered. These include power stations in Greece and Germany.
The proposed mine and power station at Stranocum, near Ballymoney, would produce 4.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year over the lifespan of the project. This is not only highly polluting but flies in the face of current local government strategies, such as the Sustainable Development Strategy, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.