Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Planning board defers key Corrib pipeline decision

AN BORD Pleanála has deferred a key decision due to be have been delivered yesterday on the controversial Corrib gas onshore pipeline in north Mayo.

The appeals board told The Irish Times that Shell EP Ireland’s application to modify the gas onshore pipeline route was under “active consideration” during board meetings that took place from Wednesday to Friday of this week.

“There was no outcome,” a board spokesman said. “Further meetings will be held next week, and there will be an outcome in the week starting November 2nd,” he said.

The deferral is the second by the appeals board since the oral hearing earlier this year into the application for a new route and for compulsory acquisition orders to private land. A spokesman said this was due to the “complex nature of the case”.

The 19-day oral hearing chaired by inspector Martin Nolan considered the application under the Strategic Infrastructure Act.

The new route runs through special areas of conservation designated under the EU habitats directive and includes two river crossings.

The offshore pipeline was laid by the developers during the summer, and construction of the onshore gas terminal at Bellanaboy is nearing completion.

The previous pipeline route was not subject to planning, and consent to compulsory acquisition of private land by a private company was signed by former marine minister Frank Fahey under amended gas Acts.

Opposition to this on health and safety grounds resulted in the jailing of five Erris residents, known as the Rossport Five, for 94 days in 2005.

The Health and Safety Authority informed the appeals board at the outset of the oral hearing last May that it had no remit, as off-site gas pipelines are not controlled by the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 2006.

Irish Times


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