Stop the Drill: Vow to bring Woodburn campaign to council meeting

A large crowd attended the Stop the Drill meeting.  INCT 09-736-CON
A large crowd attended the Stop the Drill meeting. INCT 09-736-CON

The campaign to “protect” Woodburn Forest and reservoirs gathered momentum on Thursday night during a public meeting by Stop the Drill.

The upstairs function room at the Windrose restaurant was packed out for the event, the second in just over a week.

Chief among the concerns about the drilling project, which is being led by oil and gas exploration firm InfraStrata, is the potential for contamination of the local water supply.

A waste management plan for the scheme is also awaiting approval by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Public consultation on the plan closed at 4:30pm on February 25.

On Monday, a large number of trees were felled at the rural site on the outskirts of Carrickfergus.

Addressing the crowd, Majella McCarron and Fiona Joyce from Stop the Drill urged residents to take their concerns to the next meeting of the local government authority on March 7.

“It’s really important this matter is brought to Mid and East Antrim Council and discussed,” said Fiona.

“That has been an ongoing problem for the past five months, that every time it is raised it gets shot down.”

A number of residents indicated that they had only recently been made aware of the issue, with one commenting: “This could be potentially very dangerous for the area and I didn’t even know anything about it. What can we do to stop this? Everyone is really angry and upset.”

Meanwhile, three motions were put to public vote: that NI water terminate the lease agreement at the site, that DETI rescind the licence for the scheme, and that Permitted Development Rights be removed.

Unanimous support was expressed for all three motions.

Residents were encouraged to lend their support to the ongoing protest at Woodburn Forest.

Stop the Drill is also seeking to raise funds towards legal support for the campaign via a crowdfunding page.

Read more about this topic here.