Ballycastle Chronicle

Ballinlea campaign continues

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ballinlea Residents Group have called for people to join its campaign against plans for a second exploratory oil and gas well in the area.
Planning permission is currently being sought for the facility, which would go 1.6 miles into the ground, against a back drop of huge local opposition. The application for the second well follows on from drilling in 2008 which produced ‘encouraging results’.
A number of local residents have formed the Residents Group to voice their objections and raise public awareness about what it has termed as ‘the imminent threat of oil and gas extraction destroying our beautiful North Coast’.
1000 letters of opposition have already been sent to the planning authorities.
While the drilling application is not for ‘fracking’, research has shown that the process of drilling such deep wells can produce serious environmental and public health concerns.
“Conventional drilling will result in the same chemicals and same carcinogens being released into our environment”, said Ivor Ramage, Residents Group spokesperson.
“The proposed borehole is only 80 metres from the nearest residential property and we feel that adequate impact assessments and mitigations (health and safety, environmental and socio-economic) have not been submitted by the energy company. This is our greatest initial concern.
“However, we are also seriously concerned at the potential industrial scale of this project which could establish commercial oil or gas wells across the north coast at a density of four wells per square mile if conventionally drilled, or four per square kilometre if fracking is employed, with all the resultant traffic, noise, water and air pollution and public health issues.
“We want to protect our clean water, clean air and productive farmland and preserve them for future generations.
“We want to see every effort devoted to developing tidal energy, solar and wind power rather than desperate attempts to extend our dependence on finite fossil fuel.”
Rathlin Energy Ltd met with Moyle District Council to discuss its plans earlier this year.
At the time, company Chairman David Montagu-Smith said the ‘suggestion this process is a route to fracking is not in our planning process at all’.

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