Wednesday 27 May 2009

Corrib gas pipeline hearing seeks report on infrastructure

THE CHAIRMAN of An Bord Pleanála’s hearing into the modified pipeline route for the Corrib gas project has asked Mayo County Council for a report on key infrastructural developments being proposed for north-west Mayo.

Under the remit of a development forum, established last November by Government Ministers Éamon Ó Cuív and Eamon Ryan, this report will identify key developments for the area, the hearing was told.

Ian Douglas, a senior county council planner, said he understood the report would be ready soon.

At yesterday’s hearing in Belmullet, the negative impact of the project on the Glenamoy bog complex, which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), as outlined in the Department of Environment submission, was strongly challenged by counsel for Shell, Esmonde Keane.

Earlier, speaking for the county council, Mr Douglas said that the modified pipeline will have “a negligible impact on the landscape”, on drinking water schemes and on designated conservation sites. He observed that mitigation measures will be undertaken at the landfall site and along the route of the pipeline after its construction.

The chairman, Martin Nolan, asked him to identify what body had primary responsibility for the safety of the pipeline, its related regulatory regime and if the council intended retaining experts to monitor the implementation of this safety system.

Mr Nolan also observed that he wanted to establish what role Mayo County Council and the fire services would play in its implementation.

Responding, chief fire officer Seamus Murphy said “the matter of the safety of the pipeline was for the Department of Energy”.

“If the project gets approval, we will draw up a site-specific plan for an emergency response – like, for example, we have done for Knock airport,” said Mr Murphy.

In a submission by the Department of the Environment, Caitriona Douglas said insufficient evidence had been provided in the environmental impact statement Addendum by the developer. She referred specifically to the impact of the construction of a stone road on “the mosaic” of bog pools which are “highly sensitive” to surface and sub-surface groundwater in the Glenamoy bog complex.

Irish Times

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