Belfast Telegraph

Environmental group Protect Our North Coast challenges Ballinlea shale drilling plans

By Linda Stewart

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."

Further reading

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Moratorium on fracking in Scotland

Fracking report 'heavily redacted' 

Activists call on Stormont to revoke fracking licence for Co Antrim forest

Fracking: Environment Minister Mark H Durkan rejects Tamboran proposals for exploratory drilling in Co Fermanagh

Fracking: Drilling will not be allowed in Northern Ireland unless it's proven safe, warns Environment Minister Mark H Durkan

Idyllic village of Belcoo now the front line in bitter fracking battle

Fracking supporters: We'd be crazy to ignore £8bn goldmine under our feet

Fracking: Fermanagh exploratory drilling plan leaves Belcoo residents furious

We will fight fracking law extension, says SDLP MP Alasdair McDonnell

Gas fracking company: We caused 50 tremors in England – but we're not going to stop 

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