No nature-wrecking gas caverns in Larne Lough
No nature-wrecking gas caverns in Larne Lough
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We are a group of passionate local people in Islandmagee, Northern Ireland trying to protect our small community, natural environment and wildlife. Our hearts are broken and we feel let down by a government department whose duty it is to ensure our environment is protected and proper procedures are followed.
We are taking the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to court with Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, over the decision to allow 7 enormous gas caverns (each the size of a sky scraper) under the sea bed in Larne Lough. The decision to grant consent has implications for the whole of Northern Ireland, not only in terms of environmental impact but is contrary to UK Government commitments to phase out the use of natural gas.
Your support could help to make our team and our case even stronger, so that we can fight for the community and nature to be properly protected.
This facility will not provide an immediate answer to the energy crisis, as it will take up to 12 years to be fully operational. During its operational phase, these caverns will be one of Northern Ireland’s largest energy users.
The discharge from the mining process to create the caverns will be pumped out into the sea surrounding Islandmagee and will create a 'dead zone' where no marine life can survive. Waste will also continue to be dumped periodically for cavern maintenance during its 40 year life expectancy. We are challenging a number of issues relating to the gas storage caverns proposal.
A key ground of our challenge is that there has been a breach of the Ministerial Code and this significant, controversial and cross-cutting decision should not have been taken by a single minister. Such a significant decision should have been referred to the Executive to be determined by all Ministers.
No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth have been forced to take the highly unusual step of making an application to the Court for the disclosure of an unredacted copy of the briefing paper provided to the Minister by civil servants, which includes the reasons why Minister Poots did not refer the application to the Executive.
In the interests of transparency of decision making, the application for disclosure of this document is vital. Our application will be heard at the end of the month. However, this additional step has ramped up the costs and we need your help, please could you make a donation?
We have been tirelessly fundraising for a number of years for this legal challenge and this additional expense to get this vital piece of evidence means we have to find more money to secure our best chance of success.
If we win this court case it will send strong signals to the fossil fuel companies that they are not needed, not wanted and that we cherish our environment.
Thank you so much for your support
Islandmagee is a beautiful peninsula along the famous Causeway Coastal Route, one of the most spectacular areas within Northern Ireland and home to a rich abundance of marine and bird life.
The coastline and surrounding waters are an internationally important conservation area with multiple designations, including the North Channel Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the proposed East Coast Special Protection Area (pSPA), the Larne Lough SPA, Ramsar and Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), Portmuck ASSI, the Gobbins ASSI and the Maidens SAC.
More tourists than ever now visit the area due to its connection to the award-winning series ‘The Game of Thrones’ as key scenes were filmed locally and also due to NI Tourist attraction The Gobbins which brings thousands of international tourists, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Waste will be pumped into the sea creating a "dead zone” as 7 huge caverns are hollowed out beneath the sea floor. The associated noise disturbance and permanent loss of seafloor habitat will affect many red & amber listed species, including harbour porpoises, seals, skate, puffins, guillemots and terns. Many environmental Non Governmental Organisations have serious concerns about the projects impact upon wildlife.
Eleven Northern Ireland Priority Species, which are given protection under legislation, are found within 100 metres of the polluting waste discharge point. Increased salinity will also extend for several kilometres with adverse impacts on sensitive species.
We would really appreciate your support - thank you
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