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Clarification of Corrib gas route changes sought

Tuesday, December 16, 2008





OPPONENTS OF the controversial Corrib gas project yesterday demanded clarification of new changes to the proposed onshore pipeline route.

They intend writing to Joe Brosnan, the chairman of the forum recently established by two Government Ministers, Eamon Ryan and Eamon Ó Cuív, to elicit what status the initiative has.

Shell consultants RPS said yesterday that “a revised [planning] application will now seek minor realignments to part of the proposed route for the Corrib onshore pipeline, in order to avoid more sensitive habitat, including bog pools, in the Rossport commonage, identified during recent surveys”.

However, spokesman for community group Pobal Chill Chomáin, John Monaghan, questioned how such surveys had been undertaken since there was a District Court order preventing Shell from carrying out such invasive works in the commonage.

RPS also revealed that “the updated application will seek, in certain areas, planning approval for a wider route corridor within which the proposed Corrib onshore pipeline will be constructed”.

In a joint statement Pobal Chill Chomáin and business group Pobal le Chéile observed that this “backtrack” of the planning application showed once again the project was being built “on the wrong site”.

During August the board gave the developers six weeks to provide further information relating to the development’s impact on the stability of ground in the area; its environmental impact; and the impact of any extension of the life of the wellfields or “extensification” of wellfields upstream.

PJ Rudden, RPS group director, said yesterday: “The route of the pipeline will largely remain unchanged, and will remain a minimum of 140 metres from occupied dwellings.

“If approved by An Bord Pleanála, a wider route corridor will ensure that there is the possibility of making further small deviations to the route during the construction phase, should this be deemed necessary in particular for environmental reasons.”

However, John Monaghan argued that a new application would not have been submitted unless there were “significant changes”.

“Once again, Shell is playing fast and loose with the planning process,” he said.

Maura Harrington, of the Shell to Sea campaign, claimed this was further evidence of unacceptable action by Shell.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

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