East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat, who was involved in the original campaign to bring the gas pipeline to the North West, wants the supply extended to Ballykelly.
Mr Dallat revealed he met Firmus Energy recently and has agreed to meet again after briefing local council colleagues on what is needed to persuade Firmus to make an investment in the region of £4.5 million.
“The original decision to bring natural gas to the North West was influenced by the need to address issues of social deprivation as well as economic considerations,” he said. “It is, therefore, very important that the benefits of natural gas are enjoyed by the maximum number of people in the area. Extending the pipeline from Limavady to Ballykelly is critical to reduce high levels of fuel poverty as well as encourage competition with electricity and oil. It is also important for the business community to have access to natural gas so that they remain viable in a very competitive market.
“The extension of natural gas to Ballykelly could be speeded up if we had a master plan for the former army camp which potentially could become a major consumer of gas if it attracts a range of businesses that are highly dependent on energy. In this respect I will be writing to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minster urging progress on the overall development of the site.
“Our local councillor in the Ballykelly area, Orla Beattie has already been in discussion with local people who are keen on getting natural gas to the village and surrounding areas. Anyone keen to support this project should contact her or get in touch with our constituency office in Linenhall Street (028 77763391) to add their weight to a campaign which is warming up.”