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Lignite in Ballymoney

| Background to the issue | Arguments for development | Arguments against development |


Arguments against developing a lignite mine and power station

Opponents to the proposal for developing a lignite mine east of Ballymoney are opposed to the loss of agricultural land and the houses located on the land. Townlands like Ballaghmore, Springfield, Culramoney, Leitrim, Killyrammer, Ganaby, Kockanavery and Topp (pictured here) will disappear entirely.

Local politician Robert Coulter has dubbed the scheme 'environmental suicide'. He continued

"What is being proposed will cause massive disruption to people and destroy the environment for miles around. Not only will this huge development be a blot on the landscape but its effects will ripple throughout the surrounding area with the blight of pylons all the way to Kells [a village about 30 kilometres to the south-east] and air pollution for miles"

There are fears that the pollution will affect more than just the local area. One opponent, a doctor from Bushmills — a nearby village, has even claimed that Ayrshire in Scotland, could be affected by pollution and pointed to the 'black triangle' in parts of Germany and the Czech Republic. In those areas sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides from lignite-fueled power stations have damaged the environment, being linked to the destruction of vegetation and to genetic mutation in livestock. This is in addition to the dust and water pollution that would be experienced locally.

The World Wildlife Fund question whether there is a need for a lignite mine and power station at all. They point to the substantial capacity for renewable energy across Northern Ireland, which is sustainable, unlike the lignite. WWF's local representative in Northern Ireland, Malachy Campbell, points out that carbon dioxide is thought to be the main reason for climate change on the planet. Since lignite is one of the worst fuels for climate change, as it releases more carbon dioxide than burning coal, oil or gas, Malachy argues that we should be aiming to generate more of our electricity from wind and solar power.

A poster produced by an action group opposing lignite highlights their concerns:

"LIGNITE OPEN CAST MINE

The group call for a full public enquiry.