Concern at diesel spill near Larne

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Further to the diesel spill off the coast of Larne that has put wildlife in an Area of Special Scientific Interest at risk, I am concerned at the apparent lack of communication from both the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Caterpillar Northern Ireland.

The main concern from the local residents that I have heard from is that NIEA did not respond quickly in terms of notifying people about the spill and in seeking to clean up the spill; rather they are monitoring the situation.

This has caused many people to worry about possible health impacts as they inhaled the oil and some have got it onto their skin.

The diesel drifted towards Muck Island and the Gobbins, which are protected areas with large numbers of seabirds currently sustaining hungry chicks with potentially contaminated food.

I am seeking answers from the DAERA Minister as to what measures were taken to prevent people from entering the water; whether NIEA is aware of the impact of the diesel spill on health; and what clean up measures are being taken and if the costs will be covered by Caterpillar Northern Ireland.

Steven Agnew, Green MLA North Down