Wednesday 3 December 2008

Pipeline wayleaves agreed with landowners, hearing told

WAYLEAVES have been agreed with most of 72 landowners along the route of a 25km gas pipeline that will link a new gas terminal, in Tarbert, Co Kerry, with the national gas grid, near Foynes, Co Limerick, an oral planning hearing has been told.

Land acquisition orders are being sought for five to six properties along the route, it was also disclosed at the An Bord Pleanála hearing, in Listowel.

The proposed pipeline, from the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, will cross 20 roads, three rivers, 11 streams, farmland and forestry.

After construction, a permanent “easement” of 14 metres will be required within which Shannon LNG — the company behind the €500 million project — will have rights to access the pipeline. Both the terminal and pipeline are considered strategic infrastructure which means they do not have to go through local authorities for planning and are considered directly by An Bord Plean├íla.

A number of questions raised by the main objector, Safety Before LNG, were yesterday ruled out of order by the planning inspector presiding at the hearing, Anne Marie O’Connor, as having been dealt with at an earlier hearing.

The chosen route of the pipeline is overland along the southern side of the Shannon Estuary, so as to avoid interference with the ecologically important estuary, a special protected area and a candidate Special Area of Conservation, according to Shannon LNG, a subsidiary of the US Hess Corporation. Two possible routes, which would involve crossing the estuary, were looked at, but the line across land was also the cheapest of the three routes considered, the company said.

Questioned about soil disturbance on peaty areas during the laying of the pipeline, geologist John Redding, for Shannon LNG, said he had been involved in assessing other routes across peat including the Mayo-Galway gas pipeline. He said he was confident the pipeline would not produce instability.

Johnny McElligott, of the Safety Before LNG group, claimed there was no plan for the evacuation of people in the area in the event of an emergency occurring.

Mr McElligott also called for an assessment of risks of a gas spill on water from a moving vessel in the estuary. The hearing continues.

Irish Examiner

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