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I'm powerless to let anti-drill campaigner monitor clean-up: minister

By Linda Stewart

Published 23/06/2016

DUP's Michelle McIlveen is minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
DUP's Michelle McIlveen is minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen says she has no power to allow a Stop The Drill representative to monitor the clean-up of Woodburn Forest.

The minister says her officials in environment agency NIEA have regularly inspected the site and will continue to do so during the restoration of the site and during the post-closure period.

“As the DAERA Minister I have no authority to permit a ‘Stop the Drill’ representative to enter the Infrastrata site at Woodburn Forest. Any such requests should be addressed directly to Infrastrata PLC,” she said.

Campaigners had requested that a Stop The Drill representative be present to monitor the site restoration, saying they have lost confidence in the ability of NIEA to carry out its duties at the site effectively. They have called on the minister to make sure the controversial drill site is tested for chemicals after oil firm InfraStrata announced it was abandoning the borehole.

Stop The Drill say they are concerned that the water catchment could be contaminated in the wake of the exploratory drilling and that workers hauling away waste could be exposed to hazardous chemicals.

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