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Craigavon Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Minerals

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Within Craigavon Borough, basalt is quarried at Cornamucklagh and limestone at Ballymakeonan, to the northwest of Portadown and northeast of Magheralin respectively. The Magheralin quarry extracts small quantities of limestone to serve a local agricultural need. In addition, sand and gravel is extracted from the bed of Lough Neagh and brought ashore at one shore-based site. There is a long history of peat extraction for horticultural purposes in the Lough Neagh basin, with workings concentrated near Maghery and The Birches. In the 1980s a drilling programme was carried out to identify lignite seams at depth in the vicinity of Lough Neagh. This drilling programme identified a lignite presence along the southern shore of the Lough. There is no indication that these are economically viable deposits.

Regional Planning Context

The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) includes the following guidance:
  • to maintain a working countryside with a strong mixed use rural economy;
  • to encourage the wise use and management of environmental resources in the interest of future generations; and
  • use of minerals for economic development in a sustainable manner and in a way which assesses the need to exploit the mineral resources against the need to protect and conserve environmental resources.
The Department's current regional planning policy for mineral development in Craigavon Borough is set out in A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland. This contains a range of policies for the control of mineral development, taking into account environmental protection, visual amenity and public safety and traffic considerations. It also includes policies for mineral reserves, valuable minerals, areas of constraint on mineral developments and restoration of mineral workings.
Planning Policy Statement 2 (PPS 2): Planning and Nature Conservation contains the policies for the protection of peatland sites. Government policy on peat extraction is also expressed in Conserving Peatland in Northern Ireland - A Statement of Policy, and is supplemented by the policies contained in the Rural Strategy.
Plan Policy MIN 1 Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments
Lough Neagh Ramsar Site and Montiaghs Moss are designated as Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments.
Proposals for the development of mineral resources within these areas will be restricted in accordance with the provisions of prevailing regional planning policy.
By their nature, scale, location and duration of operation, mineral developments frequently impact more severely on the environment than any other form of development. They can damage or destroy sites of nature conservation or science value and sites of historic and archaeological interest. They can also have a significant visual impact on the landscape and an adverse effect on the amenity of people living nearby.
Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments are designated in order to safeguard the most valuable areas and features of the environment, within Craigavon Borough, from the detrimental effects of mineral extraction. Their designation has taken account of nature conservation interests, the archaeological and built heritage, landscape quality and character, visual prominence, amenity value and geological interest.
The Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments are identified on Map No. 1 Craigavon Borough.
The Department's current planning policy for the control of mineral development within these areas is set out in Policy MIN 3 of A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland.
Plan Policy MIN 2 Hydrocarbon Exploration
In the event that hydrocarbon exploration identifies the possibility of commercially viable reserves of oil or gas, applications for planning permission to sink wells, for the purpose of appraising the nature or extent of the discovery, will be considered in the context of the long term suitability of the site for production purposes.
Future exploration, under licence, may identify deposits of oil or gas, minerals which are particularly valuable to the Northern Ireland economy. Exploitation may create environmental effects that are particular to the methods of extraction or treatment of that mineral. The Department will not, therefore, operate a general presumption against their exploitation in any part of the Borough including Areas of Constraint on Mineral Developments. Rather, applications will be treated on their merits having regard to the impact of the specific development on nearby residents and sites, features or areas designated for their scientific, landscape or heritage interests.
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