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Council rejects plans to drill the mountain

REJECTED: The pink area of the map is the area that would be affected by the licence REJECTED: The pink area of the map is the area that would be affected by the licence
By Michael Jackson

BELFAST City Council has rejected plans to drill for fossil fuels in the Belfast Hills.

A Department for Economy (DfE) consultation into an application by EHA Exploration Ltd for a petroleum licence was unanimously opposed at a meeting of the Council’s People and Communities Committee on Tuesday night.

DfE is simultaneously consulting on a second licence application by Tamboran Resources (UK) Limited, relating to the Lough Allen Basin area of Fermanagh and Omagh local government districts.

Belfast City Council is one of a number of local councils being consulted on plans to explore for fossil fuels. However, the granting of licences for fossil exploration will require ministerial approval.
The application from EHA Exploration Ltd could see fossil fuel exploration in the Belfast Hills, including the Black Mountain and Divis Mountain.

It is also expected to impact whole Belfast City Council wards including Andersonstown, Beechmount, Falls, Ladybrook, Poleglass, Turf Lodge, Ballygomartin, Blackstaff, Clonard, Falls Park, Lagmore, Twinbrook, and Shaw’s Road areas.

Commenting on the plans, People Before Profit Councillor and People and Communities Committee Chair, Michael Collins, stated: “I was shocked to see a proposal on the agenda tonight for the committee to engage passively in a consultation for an oil company to begin drilling for fossil fuels in the greater Belfast area.

“The proposed drill site included Black Mountain, Divis Mountain, the Belfast Hills and could have potentially affected 100,000 homes in the greater Belfast area.

“Thankfully, my proposal calling for outright opposition to these plans was unanimously accepted by committee.

“A clear message sent from Council tonight that fossil fuels should remain in the ground.

“We can’t allow huge oil companies to continue to push our planet off a cliff edge in their relentless pursuit of profit. Our environment and future generations deserve better.

“I’m glad the committee could play it’s part tonight in the fight against climate catastrophe.”

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