Tuesday 16 September 2008

Shell accused of 'project splitting'

ANTI-SHELL protesters yesterday accused the company of "development by stealth" and "project splitting" as they reacted to further changes to the controversial site in Mayo.

The allegations have been rejected by the company.

Shell E&P Ltd has lodged a planning application in today's newspapers seeking permission to alter the gas terminal, particularly by adding a far larger emergency holding tank than was previously proposed.

The application also seeks permission for building an electricity switchroom and electricity transformer, protected by a two-metre high chain-link fence.

The contents of the planning application raised serious concerns according to John Monaghan, a former Shell to Sea spokesman who now represents the community group Pobail Kilcummin.

"This is one of a series of amendments to the project before it has even been completed. We have major concerns that this is development by stealth and project splitting," he said.

"It raises the question if this had all been part of the original application, would it have been more difficult to obtain," Mr Monaghan said.


Pobail Kilcummin have already lodged a complaint with the European Parliament about project splitting in relation to the Corrib Gas project.

But last night a spokesman for the company rejected the protesters' accusations, saying the changes to the project were being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) licence which the company is bound to have.

The IPPC licence was granted in late November on the basis that Shell fulfilled 90 conditions. Among those conditions was a requirement to vastly increase the size of the emergency holding tank to provide for fire or spillage into storm water.

In relation to the "project splitting" charge, the spokesman said the European Parliament had found that Shell had not been guilty of this and had acted within any relevant provisors and conditions.

Grainne Cunningham
Irish Independent


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