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Dickson Shocked and Saddened by DEARA’s Decision to Green Light Islandmagee Gas Storage Project

East Antrim MLA, Stewart Dickson, has said he is fearful following the green light being given to develop a gas storage facility under Larne Lough, a protected area.

Mr Dickson said: “I am appalled the DEARA Minister has decided to go ahead with the excavation of seven gas caverns under the Larne Loughs sea bed to store fossil fuel.

“When the project was given the green light, I met with ‘No Gas Caverns’ activists and called for a public inquiry. I don’t see any need for the project to go ahead, particularly considering the vehement opposition from environmental groups and local residents.

“Not to mention that this decision is completely out of step with COP 26 efforts. We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, tipped to be even more detrimental than climate change, so why is the Minister knowingly allowing the destruction of the seabed?

“I am shocked and saddened by his decision and will not stop fighting to save our environment. This is an attack on wildlife in the area, which will be catastrophic for protected harbour porpoises, seals and puffins”.

Mr Dickson went on: “I questioned the Minister this week on what he is doing to stop plans to use the gas caverns at Larne Lough to store gas for Great Britain soon sold at ransom prices no doubt, but unfortunately he has no plans to halt this.

“Minister Poots attendance at COP26 last week was absolute hypocrisy. I ask that the Minister uses action, not empty rhetoric. Instead of propping up the gas industry, he must concentrate on protecting our people and our country. Focus must shift away from fossil fuel usage and to cheaper and more sustainable alternatives.

“We need to concentrate on investing in better insulation, triple glazing and heat pump grants which will reduce heating bills and drive down emissions. Not destroy what we should be doing our utmost to preserve”.

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