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Hazzard moots changes to permitted development for oil and gas in NI

Words: Roger Milne
Oil derrick

Northern Ireland's minister for infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, has announced he is proposing to remove permitted development rights for oil and gas developments which enable exploratory activity to go ahead without planning permission.

During a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly about InfraStrata’s activities at Woodburn Forest in East Antrim, the minister said in future oil and gas developments would require a full planning application, an environmental impact assessment and public consultation. He said he would begin consulting on this shortly.

The administration has just consulted on possible changes to the permitted development regime. Hazzard said there was an "overwhelming response in favour of change to the existing system".

The minister said InfraStrata’s operation near a drinking water reservoir, which has been carried out under permitted development rights, had led to public concern and highlighted the need for change.

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