SHELL EP Ireland was yesterday given a three-month extension to submit a revised application to An Bord Pleanála for the controversial Corrib gas pipeline route in Co Mayo.
On November 3rd last the planning board determined almost half the proposed route was “unacceptable” on safety grounds, and directed Shell to examine an alternative partial route up Sruwaddacon Bay, away from housing.
The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources challenged parts of An Bord Pleanála’s handling of the issue in a letter on January 20th. In it, aspects of the November decision are criticised, particularly the “risk assessment methodology espoused in the Board’s letter” to Shell. The department’s chief technical officer Bob Hanna said this is based “solely on consequence”.
“To illustrate by way of example, a ‘consequence only’ approach means that one would have to design and build an aircraft which would protect its passengers from harm when it crashes,” the letter stated.
Rossport resident Monica Muller questioned Shell’s intention of bringing the pipe up the bay. “In the board’s decision of November 2nd last, they directed Shell to examine the possibility of redirecting part of the high-pressure pipeline route up Sruwaddacon Bay, thus bringing it away from houses in Glengad, Aughoose and Rossport. But Shell has not referred to this in any of the correspondence since to the board,” Ms Muller said.