Company granted extension to restore Woodburn Forest site

The site at Woodburn Forest pictured in July.  INCT 33-730-CON
The site at Woodburn Forest pictured in July. INCT 33-730-CON

An oil and gas exploration company has been granted an extension to complete restoration work at the former drill site in Woodburn Forest.

Earlier this week, Stop the Drill raised concerns that InfraStrata, the company behind the controversial operation, had missed their deadline to finish the work.

The project was abandoned in June after no trace of hydrocarbons were found at the rural site, just outside Carrickfergus.

“Infrastrata was granted the right to drill the exploratory well under part 16 of the Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (Northern Ireland) which confines the development period to four months,” a statement from Stop the Drill read.

“That four month period expired on August 8, 2016 yet Infrastrata have still not completed. Stop The Drill has long argued that this project should never have been allowed under Permitted Development and the failure to complete within the statutory period further confirms that we have been right all along.”

Responding, the local government authority confirmed that it had granted InfraStrata additional time to complete the project.

“Due to the July holidays, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agreed to an extension to the period specified for site restoration works, as allowed for under the General Development Permitted Development Order,” a spokesperson for the council said.

“Site restoration works should be completed by August 22 or as otherwise agreed in writing with the council.”