AN BORD PLEANÁLA has asked Shell's consultants for extensive additional information on its application to re-route the Corrib gas onshore pipeline. Significantly, the appeals board has focused on the development's impact on the stability of ground in the area.
It is also seeking information on potential habitat impact, and the "cumulative impact of the development, having regard to the other elements of the Corrib gas field development".
The appeals board has asked for details on the impact of the onshore pipeline on any extension of the life of the wellfields, or "extensification" of the wellfields upstream of the onshore pipeline.
Critics of the project believe the Corrib gas onshore refinery at Bellanaboy will be a base for a more extensive refinery, involving further onshore pipelines extending from additional finds offshore.
An Bord Pleanála has given RPS, Shell's consultants, six weeks to supply information relating to their application and their new environmental impact statement (EIS).
The modified onshore pipeline route runs from a landfall at Glengad under Dooncarton mountain, where there was a series of landslides in 2003.
It continues for nine kilometres through farmland, commonage and protected blanket bog habitats, including Sruwaddaccon Bay and the Glenamoy Bog complex special area of conservation.
RPS say that the route will have "minimal impact" on the bay and other designated conservation sites, and is twice as far from homes as the previously approved route - which was never submitted for planning approval.
Shell has already begun work at the Glengad landfall.
An Bord Pleanála has asked the company for reports on a post-landslide site at Derrybrien wind farm in Co Galway - the location of a landslide in October, 2003 - and several other geotechnical reports referred to in its EIS.
It seeks an assessment of "the impact of the development on the hydrogeology and hydrology and the stability of the ground . . .".
It has requested details on the impact on natural heritage, on water quality, of tree felling and on rates of sedimentation and erosion of the salt marsh and dune system at Glengad. Shell EP Ireland (SEPIL) confirmed that it had received An Bord Pleanála's request.
"It is not uncommon for additional information to be requested during a planning process and SEPIL will submit the requested information within the specified timeframe," it said.
The Irish Times