PONC submission re PDR Call for Evidence

Department of the Environment (DOE)
Response to Call for Evidence:
Permitted Development Rights for Mineral Exploration

Protect Our North Coast (PONC) is an entity formed to advance the environmental protection and improvement of the North Coast area of Northern Ireland; including to protect it from environmentally damaging activities which would have an adverse and detrimental impact on the environment and on the economic, social and cultural experience of people living in and visiting the North Coast area.

PONC has more knowledge and experience of hydrocarbon exploration than mineral exploration in general, and so some of our comments are hydrocarbon-specific. However, many of the issues and points we raise could be applied equally to exploration for other minerals.

PONC is of the view that the existing provisions on permitted development rights for hydrocarbon exploration are out-dated and possibly unlawful, and that Part 16 of the GPDO must be revised to, at the very least, explicitly exclude hydrocarbon exploration, bringing it into line with provisions in Scotland, England and Wales.

Our primary advice to the Minister, and the Department, for any forthcoming review of Part 16 of the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 (GPDO), would be to examine the evidence upon which all other jurisdictions in the UK (Scotland, England and Wales) have based their decision to explicitly exclude petroleum exploration from permitted development provisions.

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