Saturday, 29 December 2007

Oral hearing into Kerry gas plan

An oral hearing is to be held by An Bórd Pleanála into the country's first liquified natural gas terminal, planned for a site on the Shannon estuary in Co Kerry.

The hearing will be held in Tralee at the Brandon Hotel on January 21st-28th. The €500 million proposal for the regasification project involves 300 acres of land and a deepwater site between the villages of Tarbert and Ballylongford.

Earlier this year An Bórd Pleanála decided the project by Shannon LNG (a subsidiary of the US company Hess LNG) was "strategic infrastructure" under the terms of the new the new Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 , after an application by the company.

The decision meant the application has gone directly or been fast-tracked to An Bórd Pleanála, without having to go first to the local authority, Kerry County Council. It is the first such application in Kerry under the Act.

The proposal will also involve the Health and Safety Authority and it is subject to licensing by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The project is a major one for the county and will require the significant upgrading of roads, fire service and water services in north Kerry. It will involve huge gas storage tanks, a new marine jetty and unloading equipment as well as warehousing and stores and water pump houses.

At full capacity up to 125 tankers a year would arrive with gas and this will require an exclusion zone around the jetty when the ships arrived. Up to 750 jobs will be created during the height of the construction phase.

The planning appeals board has received more than 50 submissions. These are from prescribed bodies such as An Taisce and the Department of the Environment, as well as from residents, marine bodies and interested groups.

The Irish Times

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