Statement from Stop The Drill following Belfast High Court hearing.
A massive victory for the campaign today in the High Court! Stop The Drill are delighted that the judge ruled in favour of the concerned local resident and granted leave that the Judicial Review can proceed.
Infrastrata’s barrister Stewart Beattie stated that the company will go bankrupt if the drill is stopped until Mid and East Antrim Council make a decision on enforcement. This is a company that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) confirmed two days ago as financially sound.
Anne Donaghy’s affidavit to the court was refused -so it was! Greg Jones QC for the applicant was vehement in his condemnation of how the Council have acted. He said ‘How long does it take for this authority to figure out that there have been changes made to the access? It beggars belief. The conduct of Mid and East Antrim Council falls below the required professional standards’.
He was heavily critical of RPS (Infrastrata’s consultants) reports citing numerous inconsistencies between the original reports and what is actually happening on the ground.
An injunctive relief case will be heard on Thursday, 12th May with Infrastrata being forced to disclose their contracts.
During the hearing it emerged that Mid and East Antrim Council were prepared to give an undertaking to conclude their investigation into the Permitted Development breaches and Waste Management Plan within 10 working days and that this process could be accelerated.
The Council stated that there will be no environmental impact during this period. Given this undertaking Stop the Drill feels it would be reckless if Mid and East Antrim Council were to allow Infrastrata to commence drilling before the results of this process is complete.
It is very disappointing that a private citizen has to force the responsible authority Mid and East Antrim Council to make a decision on a project that is so critically time dependent.
Throughout this process we have sought the right to participate in the decisions that will have a significant environmental impact. This is a human right and ratified by the the Aarhus Convention. Not being allowed to participate in this decision is a violation of that right.
We thank the local resident from the bottom of our hearts for his commitment to protecting our community and our water.