Woodburn drill: Ex-DoE manager slams ‘systemic failure’ over planning

The Woodburn drill site as seen from the air
The Woodburn drill site as seen from the air

An ex-Department of the Environment (DoE) manager has blasted the state of the Province’s planning system, saying the Woodburn oil drill controversy is just one symptom of an all-out “systemic failure”, reports the News Letter.

The plan to hunt for oil reserves outside Carrickfergus in east Antrim has been the subject of escalating protests in recent months, and Dean Blackwood accused the current planning authorities of backing the plan “at the expense of common sense”.

Dean Blackwood held a senior job in the DoE until 2013

Dean Blackwood held a senior job in the DoE until 2013

A number of protestors have cited fears around possible pollution of the nearby water reservoirs from the project, which is being carried out on land belonging to NI Water.

Both NI Water and the firm behind the work – InfraStrata – have strongly denied that there is any risk.

However, the workings of the planning system itself have come under the spotlight as a result of the case.

Read the full story here.