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

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.

Monday, 7th November 2016, 2:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:48 pm
Mountains of sand pictured on shore of Lough Neagh

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.

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).

Mounds of sand extracted from Lough Neagh at Toome

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.

Mounds of sand extracted from Lough Neagh at Toome