Planning Appeals Commission give Lough Neagh sand traders second extension on Environmental Statement

Mountains of sand removed from the bed of Lough Neagh

Mountains of sand removed from the bed of Lough Neagh

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Lough Neagh sand traders fighting an enforcement notice imposed by former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan have been given a second extension by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) for the Environmental Assessment they must submit.

The five traders and Lord Shaftesbury appealed the minister’s ruling last year, and were told they had to submit an Environmental Statement to accompany their appeal.

Mounds of sand extracted from Lough Neagh at Toome

Mounds of sand extracted from Lough Neagh at Toome

At the time they applied for and were given almost a year’s extension, which meant the report should have been lodged by October 31 this year.

But just six days before the report was due, PAC say they were asked for a “slight extension”, which was granted on the same day (October 25).

While the case is ongoing, the companies involved continue to remove sand from Lough Neagh without planning permission.

Environmental groups have taken action against Stormont on the issue, while sand traders argue that dredging is not damaging the ecology of the lough.