The Alliance Party group on Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council have voiced their opposition to an application from EHA Exploration Limited for a licence to drill for oil and gas.
Leader of the Alliance group on the Council, Councillor Owen Gawith, said: “At a time when we should be moving away from the use of fossil fuels, which contribute massively to climate change, it would be a catastrophe to approve this application. The consultation period of eight weeks is totally inadequate for full consideration by the five council areas covered by this application. A substantial part of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council could be negatively impacted if approved.
“The application covers a huge area of land, including the Belfast Hills, which are vitally important to our wellbeing and should not be subjected to exploration for short term financial gain. The area to be explored almost circles Lough Neagh, which supplies a portion of Belfast’s drinking water. The potential risk to this supply should not be overlooked.
“What is particularly worrying is that, if successful, the petroleum licences will not require any environmental assessments to be carried out. That is totally unacceptable.
“As elected representatives, we will be opposing this application to ensure our natural heritage is protected. Our focus should be on investing in renewable and sustainable energy sources rather than fuels we know damage our planet.”