Friday 16 November 2007

Shell may retain road built without permission

An Bord Pleanála has permitted Shell E&P Ireland to retain a temporary road which had been built initially without authorisation at the landfall for the Corrib gas pipeline.

The appeals board has said that the temporary road will not have a significant effect on the Glenamoy bog complex special area of conservation (SAC), if certain conditions are complied with.

The board has allowed the Corrib gas developers to retain the temporary development for a five-year period to "facilitate the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline".

Last year, the appeals board instructed Shell E&P to dismantle the construction road at Glengad, landfall for the Corrib gas pipeline, or apply for planning permission. The road had been created out of a previously existing agricultural entrance from the public road to the Corrib gas pipeline wayleave at Glengad.

Mayo County Council had ruled that the works, which had already been carried out, were not subject to planning. This had been referred to An Bord Pleanála by An Taisce and Michael Ó Seighin of Carrowteigue, Co Mayo.

The appeals board noted the proximity of the development to a priority habitat, designated under the European habitats directive, and is a Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation. An Taisce questioned why the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government had failed to take action, as the body legally responsible for implementing the directive here.

The appeals board has now said that the road may stay, but must be restored to its previous condition within three months of permission expiry in five years.

It also said no weed killer should be used on the surface or verges, and only hand tools or light mechanical methods can be used to maintain verges. Cutting of vegetation must be carried out only under supervision of an ecologist, it said.

The Department of the Environment is still considering a separate case regarding unauthorised works at the Glenamoy bog complex SAC by consultants for Shell E&P last month.

Lorna Siggins
The Irish Times

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