Anna Lo and the Alliance Party

Lo calls for Minister Attwood to reconsider Runkerry Development

22/06/12

News Image In light of UNESCO concerns and apparent lack of consultation with the body regarding the development of resort at Runkerry near The Giant's Causeway, Alliance Environment Spokesperson, Anna Lo MLA, has called for the Minister to reconsider the planning approval for the development and seek advice from UNESCO on how to best protect our World Heritage Site.

Anna Lo MLA said: "UNESCO have stated that they will be asking the UK Government to intervene and stop any building plans until the potential impact on the area could be assessed. I believe that Alex Attwood must now review his decision to grant planning permission now that UNESCO and the National Trust have stated their concerns about this proposal.

"It is extremely worrying that it appears UNESCO were not consulted during the planning stages of this application and that the Minister appears not to have sought advice from UNESCO regarding this development in proximity of The Giant's Causeway- our only world heritage site here in Northern Ireland.

"The fact that the World Heritage Committee will be asking the UK government to intervene in this case should send a strong message to Minister Attwood that this project should be reconsidered and he should immediately engage with UNESCO to ensure careful consideration of the potential impact such a development could have on our incredible causeway.

"The Minster said he carried out a 'lengthy process' when evaluating this application and 'complied with best practice' and I would question how this could have been done without UNESCO consultation.

"We have heard a lot about the potential tourism boost the Runkerry resort would give to the local area but we need to consider the potential consequences this development could have on The Giant's Causeway, a tourist gem on the North Coast.

"I am not opposed to redevelopment of our North Coast in principle. We need to make sure that any development in this area is sensitive to the world heritage site and all steps are taken to reduce the impact on the landscape and environment during development and completely eliminate any risks for lasting negative impacts on the local area.

"It also appears that the Minister has gone against the advice of his Department and may have only given planning permission in order to create headlines without thinking it through."