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Campaigners Hit Out At Lough Neagh Sand Dredging Approval

2nd October 2020
Satellite image of Lough Neagh Satellite image of Lough Neagh Photo: NASA

Environmental campaigners have hit out at a Stormont decision to approve sand dredging in Lough Neagh, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Sand dredging has been practiced in Lough Neagh since the 1930s, with no permission needed until after the lough was designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife in 1999.

Most recently the practice has been subject of a years-long legal battle, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, with Friends of the Earth claiming that as much as 1.5 million tonnes of sand are removed from the lough each year.

The final say on the matter was left to Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure, whose minister Nichola Mallon signed off on the approval and said the decision was a “finely balanced” one “where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the potential for harm to the designation features of the lough”.

Among those criticising the move was Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey.

She said that sand dredging has “a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem of the lough”, and claimed the situation underscored the notion that “Northern Ireland is disintegrating into an environmental wasteland”.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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