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Christian Aid responds to exploratory drilling at Woodburn Forest

Christian Aid has responded to a call for evidence launched by the Northern Ireland Department for the Environment on 'permitted development rights for mineral exploration.'

The call for evidence was launched in response to public concerns over unconventional techniques for extracting gas, such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the exploratory drilling that is taking place at Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus.

Current regulations on permitted development rights allow certain types of development to be carried out without the need for a planning application. This includes exploratory drilling for oil and gas, which may lead to those resources being extracted using either conventional techniques or unconventional techniques such as fracking.

As part of our long-running campaign on climate change, Christian Aid is urging all governments to urgently make the shift to a low-carbon economy, by moving away from fossil fuel dependency and towards clean renewable technology.

Scientists estimate that three-quarters of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground if we are to prevent runaway climate change. If that is the case then it follows that we should not undertake exploratory drilling for new sources of fossil fuel.

In our response we urge the Northern Ireland assembly to demonstrate its commitment to a low-carbon economy by refusing permitted development rights for projects that are seeking to identify new sources of fossil fuels, but instead to introduce incentives to stimulate investment in renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency.

Download our full response (PDF).

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