9th November 2017

The so-called ‘consultation’ on the plans to issue mineral prospecting licences in Fermanagh and Tyrone ends tomorrow at 5pm.  If you are concerned about these proposals please make your voice heard.  You can do so by:

a. Signing and sharing our online petition.

b. Emailing the Department for the Economy at minerals@economy-ni.gov.uk

My email to the Department is set out below – please feel free to use this as a basis for your own, adding your personal views as appropriate.

Thank you for all that you are doing to protect our beautiful counties, our sustainable economy, our health and our children’s future.

Dear Sirs

I am writing in response to the Department’s consultation regarding the proposed issuing of mineral prospecting licences KDR1 (Karelian Diamond Resources) and OM4 (Flintridge Resources). As a resident of Fermanagh and Omagh District area, I object strongly to the issue of these licences for the following reasons.

1. There has been no proper consultation of the nature subscribed to by the Northern Ireland Civil Service and to which the public are entitled under the Aarhus Convention.

2. There has been insufficient information provided regarding the metals sought or the areas to be targeted. The licence area of KDR1 especially is huge, including several large settlements as well as areas of great environmental importance.

3. There has been insufficient information provided regarding the suitability of the proposed licensees.

4. There has been no Strategic Environmental Assessment of the programme of mineral licensing. Such an assessment is legally required.

5. The issue of Permitted Development Rights is as yet unresolved. This issue is key to the operation of the proposed licences and it is therefore premature to proceed until it has been determined.

6. The mineral extraction industry and its operations have been the source of considerable public concern. It is inappropriate to issue further licences unless and until that concern is fully considered and addressed.

7. The absence of a Northern Ireland Executive or of a Northern Ireland Assembly makes it entirely inappropriate for new licences to be issued as there can be no ministerial oversight, no committee scrutiny and no opportunity for MLAs to ask questions on behalf of their constituents. As such, the essential safeguards of a working democracy are absent.

8. The legislative regime under which such licences are issued is no longer fit for purpose, failing to address key priorities of human health, environmental protection, sustainability and public consultation.

9. The nature of the Fermanagh and Omagh District area, with its enormous environmental significance and economic reliance upon agriculture, tourism and food production makes this an unsuitable location for extractive industry except in particular, carefully controlled circumstances with the support of the local community and local authority. Such support is not present in relation to the current proposals.

10. The uncertainties surrounding the UK government’s proposal to leave the European Union, and the future status of the European Directives upon which our environmental protection depend, make it inappropriate for licences to be issued in the current situation.

Yours faithfully

Tanya Jones, Enniskillen

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