Lough Neagh

Application & Public Inquiry

The instruction was to regularise sand extraction on Lough Neagh that had been ongoing for 70 years in the now European and Nationally Designated Wetland Site, in response to enforcement action by the Department of Environment whilst endeavouring to keep the 5 separate operating companies in business. The scale of the red line site in the context of Northern Ireland is illustrated below.

Challenges:

  • Enforcement Action by the DfI and Judicial Reviews by FOE in an attempt to have extraction cease at least, until due process of the planning process has been followed.
  • Application Area of 383km2 and lack of baseline information.
  • Extraction within a RAMSAR Site, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
  • Distinct land based processing / planning units outside of the red line, in 4 Council Areas.
  • 5 Clients with different scales of operations and requirements.
  • Historical (Enforcement) Application and Future Proposed Extraction (Twin Baselines)

Quarryplan Involvement:

  • Coordination of Pre-Application Discussions
  • Application for mineral site investigation over two council areas
  • Coordination of Planning Application, Environmental Statement and Project Team
  • 3 Separate Public Consultation – meeting at prominent geographical locations around the Lough
  • Public Inquiry – Expert Witness Appearance

Outcome:

The grant of the first planning permission for sand extraction 22.5MT from a specified area of Lough Neagh and an associated s.76 agreement to include all operators, owners and landlords, whilst keeping the extraction of sand ongoing despite the legal attacks.