Shell identify new routes
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
FIVE new routes have been identified by Shell as potential corridors for
bringing the controversial Corrib gas inshore to the proposed refinery at
Bellanaboy, according to the company's Communications Officer in Mayo, Mr
It is expected that it is these corridors which will be examined in the
preliminary consultations requested last week by Shell E&P Ireland with
An Bord Pleanála, under the new Planning and Development (Strategic
The Act, which came into force a fortnight ago, was instituted to speed
up planning approval for major projects. A spokesman for An Bord
Pleanála, Mr Diarmuid Collins confirmed to The Mayo News that Shell had
made a request last Thursday for 'pre-application consultations'.
"The new Act and Regulations gives us information on what kind of
requirements are necessary for the making and consideration of an
application, for example the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement], the
public consultation process and other implicit variables," explained Mr
Collins, adding that it was too early to comment on what this specific
process would involve.
Shell further confirmed that their consultant, Rural Planning Services
(RPS), has requested preliminary discussions with An Bord Pleanála, as
part of the consultation process for determining a new pipeline route.
"The purpose of the meeting is to seek clarification from An Bord
Pleanála on the procedures that have to be followed before any
application is lodged in connection with a new modified route," said Mr
Mr Loftus emphasised that the company was also in preliminary discussions
with other relevant agencies and the local community regarding the
"I can say for a fact that no preferred route has been identified yet and
that we are looking at five corridors," said Mr Loftus. He stated he did
not know whose lands these proposed routes would traverse.
While Shell to Sea spokesman Dr Mark Garavan welcomed the significance of
the fact that the new route required planning permission, he stressed
that the cumulative effect of the project must be addressed, and not one
aspect of it.
"This reveals, yet again, the incredibly truncated nature of project
splitting, which should not be an aspect of a project of this size,"
stated Dr Garavan, who observed that such initiatives by Shell were mere
posturing to give the impression they were seeking the consent of the
The existing nine-kilometre route was approved after former Minister for
the Marine, Mr Frank Fahey, granted Shell Compulsory Acquisition Orders
before the 2002 General Election under amended gas acts.
Meanwhile, The Mayo News has learned that hundreds of protestors are
expected to converge on Bellanaboy for a 'Day Of Support In Mayo' on
Friday, February 16 next. A source from Dublin Shell to Sea confirmed
that projected numbers traveling from Dublin, Cork and Galway were
similar to the last national gathering, on November 10, which led to
scenes of violence and Garda use of batons.
While welcoming their supporters to north Mayo, Erris Shell to Sea has
called on visitors to adhere to the peaceful ethos of the campaign and to
prioritise the health and safety of all participants on the day.
Chief Inspector Tony McNamara confirmed that there was an ongoing Garda
presence on duty for the daily protest but that this would be increased
commensurate with the level of the protest.
"We are trying to figure out how many people will turn up, as we will
have to implement a traffic plan. We welcome any call for the day to be a
peaceful one and would also welcome an indication from the organisers
about numbers," said Chief Inspector McNamara.