Water supply is at risk from drilling

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Why has the drilling operation at Woodburn Forest, Carrickfegus, not made media headlines and front page news until local protesters attempted to block access to the site resulting in minor confrontations?

The water supply for large parts of Belfast and beyond are being placed at serious risk of contamination by this drilling operation which is taking place only a few hundred meters from the North Woodburn Reservoir which supplies drinking water to large parts of the city.

Why is this issue not front page news and the subject of investigative documentaries?

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has granted the gas and petroleum exploration licence to drill at a site 350m from the North Woodburn Reservoir – the source of drinking water to large areas of north Belfast and other parts of the city.

The licence has been recently extended seemingly without public consultation and there is no evidence of an environmental assessment or a waste management plan.

The drilling process will involve injecting a cocktail of chemicals into the ground. It is further beyond belief that the land on which the drilling is planned to take place has been leased to the company by Northern Ireland Water.

Everyone has a part to play in highlighting this issue and in shedding light on the processes involved. The local campaigners have stepped up to the plate. It is surely time that the mainstream media joined them.

Gemma Weir, Workers Party, North Belfast