Environmental group Protect Our North Coast challenges Ballinlea shale drilling plans
Environmental group Protect Our North Coast has raised £10,000 through a crowdfunding project to challenge plans to carry out exploratory drilling into shale at Ballinlea, Co Antrim.
The group says it will use the funds to employ environmental consultants to respond to Rathlin Energy Ltd's environmental impact assessment which was recently submitted to the Department of the Environment.
"The proposed well site is located just seven miles from Northern Ireland's only Unesco world heritage site, the Giant's Causeway, not far from areas of outstanding natural beauty and other designated sites, all in the licence area," a spokesman said.
"The well would be halfway between the now infamous Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour on the Games of Thrones tourist trail.
"The proposed site is only 75m from the nearest house and there are 43 houses within half a mile of it. Research has shown that people living within half a mile of gas wells are at an increased risk of health impacts such as respiratory disorders.
"It wouldn't even be allowed in Fort Worth, Texas, where the setback distance of wells from homes is 182m, or in Dallas, Texas, where it is 457m.
"There is no setback distance in Northern Ireland."