Larne & District Friends of the Earth group has changed its name to East Antrim Friends of the Earth, covering an area from Carrickfergus to Glenarm, including Ballyclare, Whitehead and Larne.
The decision was made at the group’s annual meeting, held at Larne Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club, where guest speakers gave illustrated talks on two local projects.
Andy McMurray gave a very informative talk about the Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative. The first of five wind turbines will be sited at the Ballyboley Road, Larne. This wind farm is the first in Northern Ireland to be community-owned, and the public are being invited to invest in the venture.
Kerri Whiteside, Living Seas Community Engagement Officer of the The Ulster Wildlife Trust, informed those present of the wonderful biodiversity in the marine habitats around the coast.
There are areas of international importance around Rathlin Island where rare sponges, hydroids and sea anemonies can be found, seals around the Maidens islands, and rare maerl beds and kelp forests around our local coastline.
There was lively debate about the recent announcement that Islandmagee Storage Ltd has been given permission for phase one of the creation of salt caverns under Larne Lough to store natural gas. Local communities have concerns that the marine environment and sustainable shell fisheries could be affected by the discharge of hypersaline from this project. Concern was also raised that Islandmagee residents could be subjected to noise pollution.
Following the decision to change the name of the group to East Antrim Friends of the Earth, Leanna Filbey stood down as coordinator and Brian Luney, from Carrickfergus, was elected as coordinator of the renamed group.