Call for release of local health study

Candidate Eamonn McCann speaking at People Before Profit Foyle Assembly campaign launch in the City Hotel Derry recently. DER1216GS005

Candidate Eamonn McCann speaking at People Before Profit Foyle Assembly campaign launch in the City Hotel Derry recently. DER1216GS005

Derry & Strabane Council has been called upon to release the findings of a study examining heavy industry and its potential impact on residents in Strathfoyle and Culmore.

Paul Hughes, Strathfoyle Community worker, warned that the issue “certainly hasn’t gone away”.

He said: “Local people have been more than patient with Council over these past 12 months. Residents of Strathfoyle and Maydown have been campaigning for Council to carry out a comprehensive health impact study for many years. This request was approved in 2013 and the report was finally completed in March 2015 by Ben Cave Associates.

“Residents want to know if there is any link between living beside high industry and if this is having an impact on the health and well-being of the local population.”

He added: “The Health Impact Study Report must now be published as a matter of urgency and in the interests of the health and well-being of the local population. The onus is now on Derry & Strabane District Council to ensure that this happens.”

Meanwhile, People Befoe Profit election candidate Eamonn McCann said the residents in Culmore and Strathofyle were “entitled to see the report”.

He said: “The Enagh Youth Forum and local community organisations have been highlighting the pollution issue at Culmore, Strathfoyle, Eglinton etc. for years. People Before Profit has consistently supported them. There is deep anxiety about pollution on both sides of the river.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that the final report has been completed by the appointed consultants and circulated among a steering group which includes local community groups, businesses and statutory organisations. A spokeswoman said however: “Since its completion the Council received a representation from one of the stakeholders involved in the steering group regarding the final report and is involved in ongoing correspondence with them regarding their concerns.”

She added: “Council welcomes the views of the general public in relation to this issue and we will continue to liaise with community representatives and stakeholders.

“The Council will continue to fulfil its statutory obligation to review industrial installations and ensure they comply with environmental permit conditions in respect to emissions to air. The Environmental Health Service will investigate public health nuisance complaints.”