A Dungiven farm business was sentenced at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court today for one offence under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
McCloskey Livestock Ltd, of Teeavan Road, Dungiven, was convicted at Limavady Magistrates Court sitting at Ballymena on 15th September 2021, and today received a fine of £2,500.
During 2019 and 2020, McCloskey Livestock Ltd conducted an uncultivated land project without a screening decision or consent from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The unpermitted works were conducted in the townlands of Monehanegan and Clonmakane at Loughermore. The business ploughed and re-seeded semi-natural areas of Priority Habitat ‘Pealtand’ and semi-natural grassland to convert them into improved pasture. The business also removed linear features from the landscape, including townland boundaries.
The Department considers the works have had significant adverse impact on the environment. As well as damage and destruction to semi-natural areas important for biodiversity, the damage to large areas of peatland will result in the loss of a significant carbon-capture sink, i.e. a loss of Natural Capital.
The case initially arose from a routine monitoring inspection visit by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).