Protect our North Coast meeting

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The campaigning group Protect Our North Coast are holding a public meeting at St Patrick’s Primary School, Portrush on Wednesday, 10th December at 7.30pm.

Within a matter of weeks Rathlin Energy Ltd is due to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) including a Human Impact Assessment to the Department of the Environment (DOE) in relation to drilling an exploration well into the shale layer at Ballinlea.

This will go out for public consultation. If, based on this EIA, the DOE determines that the proposed well poses no “significant environmental impact” then there is a danger that the Ballinlea well could be the first of hundreds of unconventional oil and gas exploration and extraction wells, and fracking, all along the north coast.

Guest Speaker Gary McFarlane Director, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health NI will discuss fracking and it’s impacts.

Mr McFarlane explained: “In a global context major fracking operations are currently mainly in North America. There are a number of US States and other countries, that have suspended the search for shale gas until research uncovers the potential long term impacts upon human health and environment. More online!

‘The precautionary principle must remain the overriding principle for the UK at present’ he says. ‘Given the lack of sufficient evidence relevant to the UK at present, we believe application of this principle means it would at present be inappropriate to commence commercial operations.”

Protect Our North Coast campaigners will update local people, farmers and businesses, and let people know how they can help to prevent destructive oil and gas extraction in the area. Anyone who is interested can come along and start getting involved.

Rathlin Energy Ltd has publicly stated that if they find commercial quantities of conventional oil they would want to drill 4 wells every square mile. That multiplies up to a thousand wells across the area. A PONC spokesperson said, “This would utterly destroy our beloved north coast for all time. Our well-being and that of our children, farming, tourism and property prices would all be devastated.”