Belfast Telegraph

Campaginers in call for monitor to oversee drill site's clean-up

By Linda Stewart

Protesters at Woodburn Forest have called for an independent monitor to oversee the clean-up when InfraStrata leaves its Co Antrim drill site.

The Stop The Drill campaigners said there are still many questions for Northern Ireland Water to answer, even though InfraStrata has announced it intends to plug and abandon its exploratory drill site after no oil was found.

The company said it was disappointed not to have found a "hydrocarbon accumulation" at the forest site outside Carrickfergus.

It said the well "will now be plugged and abandoned".

More than 100 protesters have been partying at Woodburn Forest over the weekend in what was originally intended to be an awareness raising event.

Campaigners against the drilling had concerns that the activity, which was close to reservoirs supplying Belfast, could contaminate the local water supply.

Their 24-hour vigil at the forest near Carrickfergus was supported by Marvel Avengers actor Mark Ruffalo and human rights activist Bianca Jagger.

Local people danced to a DJ set from Terri Hooley, with reggae music and a samba band providing the sounds of the celebration.

Stop The Drill spokesperson Fiona Joyce said: "It was planned beforehand to be an event to raise awareness and suddenly it turned into the best party ever.

"Everyone was buzzing.

"People are really wakening up to things that would never have been in their heads before.

"We are very focused on keeping the pressure on for the clean-up - there are a lot of issues around what they've done on the site.

"Yesterday, looking around at all those people who have done these unbelievable things it was just amazing.

"People came out and fought for what was rightfully the people's - it's an incredible thing.

"People are very keen to make the forest really loved and do fun things there, make it into something really special.

"We feel that there are a lot of questions for Northern Ireland Water to answer. There is going to have to be a massive forensic clean-up on that site and what we want is an independent monitor in there to oversee it."

The well had been drilled to 2,000 metres, encountering two conventional sandstone water reservoirs - but not oil.

Belfast Telegraph


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