DAERA seeking legal advice on River Foyle dredging

 

The North's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has confirmed that it is seeking legal advice in relation to a dredging operation on the River Foyle near Strabane.

It is believed that the dredging company had been operating from the Donegal side of the river however, sand and silt is now also being removed from the Tyrone side.

West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan claims there are grave concerns over the environmental impact this is having locally.

In a letter received by West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan, the Department confirmed that the issue has been brought to their attention previously but at that stage it was reported on the side of the River Foyle which lies in Donegal.

The statement says however, it has received confirmation from the Loughs Agency that dredging is now taking place across the whole river.

It is also reported in the letter that there is currently a Judicial Review ongoing in the High Court in the Republic of Ireland.

Donegal County Council has confirmed that it is an active enforcement case and that it cannot comment further.

The company carrying out the dredging claim the works are wholly authorised.

However, the Department says it will be working with the Loughs Agency and the Department for Infrastructure Rivers in seeking legal advice.

The statement concludes saying that the River Foyle and its tributaries are protected as a European Special Area of Conservation and it is key that Government uses all mechanisms at its disposal to protect this important issue.