A notice has been served on Department of the Environment by Northern Ireland’s Green Party in relation to its failure to stop millions of tonnes of sand being “unlawfully extracted” from the bed of Lough Neagh.
Sand traders have been taking sand from the lough for over 70 years, but the Green Party, Friends of the Earth and Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy say they need to be stopped.
Last year Environment Minister Mark H Durkan advised the companies involved to stop, but no enforcement action was taken and according to some sources - more sand is being taken now than ever before.
Green Party leader Steven Agnew said the operation, which does not have planning permission and has not been assessed for its impact on the environment, is causing “irreparable damage” to the lough’s species which include birds, eels and also a very rare type of pollen.
There have also been reports that complaints have been lodged with the European Commission in relation to what the Green Party has called DoE’s “indefensible position” in its failure to protect this special habitat.
Read the full story in this week’s Mid Ulster Mail.