To cover the professional fees of Environmental Consultants to respond to Rathlin Energy's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in relation to their application to drill into the shale at Ballinlea, in Co. Antrim, on Northern Ireland's North Coast.
About the project
We urgently need your support to help pay for professional Environmental Consultants to analyse and respond to the EIA, to help in objecting to this drilling application. This must be stopped before it starts, otherwise we could see hundreds, if not thousands, of well pads all over the North Coast. The sooner you pledge the sooner we can instruct the consultants to go ahead and the deadline is looming.
An oil and gas company called Rathlin Energy Ltd has applied to the Planning Service to drill an exploratory oil/gas well at Ballinlea in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland, into the shale layer (Murlough formation) at a depth of 2700m. Their licence area (onshore Rathlin Basin) covers most of the spectacular North Coast from Ballycastle in the East, to Magilligan in the West, and south to Garvagh. They have said if successful they would like to drill 4 wells every square mile for oil. (Many more will be required if shale gas is to be extracted.)
We have managed to delay them significantly since they first applied to drill in 2013...and successfully lobbied for them to have to undertake an EIA...but the pressure is now on.
The company has submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment report. Protect Our North Coast would like to engage Environmental Consultants to analyse this three volume report and prepare a professional response.
The quoted fee is approximately £12,000 (incl VAT, but not expenses). We would like to raise at least £10,000 through this crowdfunding site to cover the bulk of the costs - we have about £2000 already.
The proposed well site is located just 7 miles from N. Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage site, the Giant's Causeway, not far from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other designated sites, all in the licence area. The well would be half-way between the now infamous Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour on the Games of Thrones tourist trail. The route for HGVs going to and from the site is along the narrow road at the top of the Dark Hedges, which is already difficult for tourists to navigate.
The proposed site is only 75m from the nearest house and there are 43 houses within half a mile of it. Research has shown that people living within half a mile of gas wells are at an increased risk of health impacts such as respiratory disorders. It wouldn't even be allowed in Fort Worth, Texas where the setback distance of wells from homes is 182m, or in Dallas Texas where it is 457m. There is no setback distance in Northern Ireland.
Please help us to STOP this well and PROTECT the North Coast!
You can find the planning application and EIA documents on the planning portal at: http://epicdocs.planningni.gov.uk/ShowCaseFile.aspx?appNumber=E/2013/0093/F
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