Second extension granted at 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

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has granted oil and gas exploration firm InfraStrata a second extension to complete restoration work at Woodburn Forest.

Earlier this month, Stop the Drill campaigners raised concerns that the company had missed their initial deadline of August 8 to finish the work.

The controversial drilling project was abandoned in June after no trace of hydrocarbons were found within 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.”

InfraStrata was initially given an additional two weeks for restoration by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, meaning work was due to finish today (August 22).

However, the local government authority confirmed that a second extension had since been granted.

“Due to wet weather conditions, an extension has been granted for the completion of site restoration works until Friday, September 16 2016,” a MEABC spokesperson said.