The Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has issued enforcement notices to five companies telling them to stop dredging sand from Lough Neagh by the end of June or face prosecution.
Alliance Environment spokesperson, Anna Lo MLA, has welcomed the action that the Environment Minister has taken against companies that have been dredging sand from the Lough.
“I am glad that after years of inaction, the Department of the Environment has finally taken action against the companies who are dredging sand from Lough Neagh. The Department must bring prosecutions if these companies do not abide by these enforcement notices,” Anna Lo MLA said:
“Lough Neagh is a large natural resource for Northern Ireland and its ecosystems must be protected. The unauthorized extraction of sand has been going on for too long and it was disappointing that the Department had previously failed to take action,” she added.
According to BBC, sand has been extracted from the bed of the Lough since the 1930s, but the operation has never had planning permission. It is estimated that about 1.7 million tonnes a year is removed using special dredging barges.