East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party candidate Roy Beggs has responded to the Department for Infrastructure’s public consultation on mineral exploration.
In a statement, he said he believes that there needs to be a “tightening of Permitted Development Rights and for lessons to be learnt following the recent controversial Woodburn drill site”.
He added: “Following the decision to drill at Woodburn, Carrickfergus, there needs to be a tightening of Permitted Development Rights (PDRs). The Woodburn drill site was within the water catchment area of the Woodburn dams supplying mains water to a substantial proportion of the East Antrim constituency and even parts of Belfast.
“It is clear that the current PDR legislation, which permitted this drilling exploration and is not fit for purpose. It is important that we improve the Permitted Development Rights in order to prevent a re-occurrence of this ever happening again.”
The UUP representative continued: “I agree that Permitted Development Rights should be removed for petroleum exploration drilling or extraction. Any work should follow a full planning application and the associated scrutiny. However, I continue to believe that we should not create unnecessary additional bureaucracy for those requiring a water borehole to be drilled to a limited depth.”