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Dickson Calls Out DAERA Minister Over Islandmagee Gas Storage

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has called out the Minister for Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs for ignoring the professional concerns of his Department’s ornithologists when green lighting the Islandmagee Gas Storage Project.

Mr Dickson said: “As far back as August 2020, the Minister’s own ornithologist’s echoed the concerns of environmental NGOs in respect of the adequacy of the environmental assessment in Islandmagee.

“Minister Poots has admitted he was aware of these concerns and recommendations, yet has continued to hide behind his departmental officials, stating he followed the best advice at the time, and ducking responsibility for the decisions only he is empowered to make.

“With an array of experts raising concerns over the adequacy of the environmental assessment, I am still unclear as to why the Minister did not seek further information, or simply refuse the application outright. Instead, he continues to spout the same old cliché that whatever decision he made would have been objectionable to someone.

“He has completely missed the point that one side of this debate is trying to speak up for local residents, local wildlife, and a sustainable future for Northern Ireland”.

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