Anti-drill protest in Carrickfergus forces road closure

Signs erected at the Woodburn Forest site.  INCT 07-728-CON
Signs erected at the Woodburn Forest site. INCT 07-728-CON

A protest by environmental campaigners against an exploratory oil drill has forced the closure of the Paisley Road in Carrickfegus.

Police say the road has been closed between the New Line and Red Brae Road on Monday morning as the protestors continue their action to prevent the InfraStrata operation close to the Woodburn Forest reservoir.

It is understood the escalation of the protest has been timed to coincide with the expected arrival of the company’s drilling machinery.

Earlier on Monday morning, the Don’t Drill Antrim Water Facebook page posted the message: “Drill and escort vehicle look set to depart Larne. If you can get to Woodburn to join the protest today would be a good day.”

The Stop the Drill campaign group is strongly opposed to a controversial borehole to search for oil and gas, claiming the area is part of the catchment for a reservoir supplying water homes in Belfast and Carrick.

They claim chemicals used in the drilling process could seep into the water table.

Northern Ireland Water, which has leased the site to InfraStrata, insists the project will not compromise the water supply.