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Environmentalists In New Challenge Over Lough Neagh Sand Dredging

5th January 2017
Satellite view of Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the island of Ireland Satellite view of Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the island of Ireland Photo: NASA

#LoughNeagh - Friends of the Earth (FoE) is appealing a ruling against its claims that Stormont is “turning a blind eye” to sand dredging in Lough Neagh, as the News Letter reports.

The environmental group brought the issue before the High Court last summer, when it described NI Environment Minister Mark Durkan’s 2015 decision to issue an enforcement notice against sand dredging, rather than an outright ban, as bringing “Northern Ireland into ridicule”.

As much as 1.5 million tonnes of sand is dredged from the lough each year, the charity has claimed, adding that dreading companies have continued the practice as their own challenge against the enforcement notice is pending with the Planning Appeals Commission.

Sand dredging has been carried out in Lough Neagh since the 1930s, and previously no planing permission was required, though the lough was designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife in 1999.

In November, a judge rejected FoE’s High Court challenge, but the organisation has now appealed that decision.

“We believe the judge erred in law and didn’t take into account the significance of this major nature reserve,” said the charity’s NI director James Orr.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

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