Help stop climate-wrecking gas caverns in Larne Lough

by Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

Help stop climate-wrecking gas caverns in Larne Lough

by Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Case Owner
We are part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the well-being of everyone in it.
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Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Case Owner
We are part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the well-being of everyone in it.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Friends of the Earth’s Legal and Planning Team uses the law to protect people and planet. We challenge our leaders on their climate hypocrisy and demand urgent action. Our hard-fought legal victories help create a safer, greener future for us all.

But we can’t do any of it without the help of people like you. And in our latest legal challenge, we need your support more than ever.

The government in Northern Ireland has given the green light for proposals for seven huge underground gas storage caverns* to be carved out of salt layers under Larne Lough. This construction will threaten a highly protected marine environment where much of the Game of Thrones series was filmed.

The excavation process will create a “dead zone” in the sea surrounding Islandmagee, Northern Ireland, where no marine life could survive. And with the devastating impacts of climate breakdown already clear here and abroad, building more planet-damaging fossil fuel facilities are only going to make things worse.

Friends of the Earth have united with a local grassroots campaigning group, No Gas Caverns**, to legally challenge the Northern Ireland government’s decision and stop this from happening.

We could be facing huge legal fees from this crucial legal battle. So we are initially raising £5,000 to help us mitigate this cost of this case, as well as to ensure we can continue protesting and campaigning to keep climate breakdown in the public eye, and maintain pressure on government to take the urgent climate action we need.

With your help, our joint case with No Gas Caverns will send a powerful message to our governments that they cannot keep approving fossil fuel projects like this one if they are serious about stopping climate catastrophe.

This facility will not provide an immediate answer to the energy crisis, as it takes up to 12 years to be fully operational. Nor will it respect the flourishing marine life in this highly protected area – in fact, the project is set to adversely impact 11 priority sensitive species including terns, otters, dolphins and porpoises.

Instead, plans to build this climate-wrecking fossil fuel facility will further undermine our efforts to deal with climate crisis swiftly and effectively – during its operational phase, these caverns will be one of Northern Ireland’s largest energy users. Friends of the Earth’s recent investigation uncovered that no fewer than 40 new fossil fuel projects are planned in the UK over the next few years. If approved, they’ll produce 1.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent – almost 3 times the yearly emissions for the whole of the UK.

Climate breakdown is happening now. Our governments can’t continue to approve climate and nature wrecking projects like this. We’re ready to challenge them in court, but we need your help to make sure they are held to account. 

We've already started legal action against the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and have set out 10 legal reasons why the decision that allowed the gas caverns was wrong. The Department has accepted that all ten of our arguments should be heard before the Court and we are set to go head-to-head in a full hearing scheduled for winter 2022.

But we need to do more. To get the government to stop approving climate and nature wrecking projects like this one, once and for all, we need to pile on the pressure from vast numbers of people like you. By making a donation today, you'll help to build an unstoppable wave of people power that our leaders simply won’t be able to ignore.

Thank you so much for reading this, and a massive thank you to all the incredible supporters who have so far donated to fund this crucial case and our wider campaigning work. Please do consider joining them by donating and sharing our page today.

* Gas Caverns are large, natural or artificial underground cavities created by the excavation of rock salt or by mining. In this particular case, 7 huge caverns, each the size of a skyscraper, will be carved out of the rock underneath the seabed under Larne Lough in a process known as "solution mining". Solution mining involves using well sites to drill boreholes many hundreds of meters below the seabed. 

Once a hole is formed, seawater is injected at high pressure causing the salt deposits within the rock to dissolve. As the salt dissolves, a cavern space is created.  When the cavern has reached its desired height, the salty brine solution is then treated and discharged nearby – in this case, into the sea near Islandmagee, Northern Ireland, creating a “dead zone” where no marine life could survive. It can take up to two years for each cavern to be created using this process which will be repeated seven times until all seven intended caverns have been created and are ready to store fossil fuel gas.



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