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Consultants queried on Corrib site

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Irish Times

AINE RYAN

CONSULTANTS FOR Shell E&P Ireland have been asked if they had considered the submission of a former Army bomb disposal expert that the distance of houses from the high-pressure Corrib pipeline should be set at 500 metres and not at 140 metres as proposed.

John Monaghan of community group Pobal Chill Chomain was addressing the An Bord Pleanala hearing in Belmullet, Co Mayo, yesterday into the modified pipeline route for the controversial project.

Mr Monaghan said that Comdt Patrick Boyle had expressed his concerns to RPS consultants during the consultation process and that if such a distance from houses was applied, it would “entirely rule out Glengad as a landfall site”.

Earlier, the chairman of the hearing Martin Nolan asked RPS how it had come to justify the 140 metre distance from houses on the proposed new route.  Mr Nolan asked if RPS was constrained by the fact that the landfall site at Glengad had already been chosen.

He also asked what survey work had been undertaken regarding other identified landfall sites, one of which, Glinsk, is supported by local priests and the community as an onshore location for refining the gas, thus obviating the need for a 10km pipeline over peatland.

Ciaran Butler for RPS said: “We had in mind certainly to increase the distance from houses, but 140 metres wasn’t an objective.  We didn’t set out to double the distance from the original route, it was just a consequence.”

Mr Butler said that community, environmental and technical criteria, as well as project requirements, had been applied.

Regarding other landfall locations, he confirmed that visual surveys of Inver, Portacloy and Glinsk were undertaken.

His colleague, Des Cox, said “the primary objective from the outset was safety”.

Esmonde Keane, counsel for Shell, said the chosen landfall site at Glengad “had not constrained or impeded the choice of this route”.

He added that the landfall valve was part of this application but that the ongoing site works at Glengad were under a previous consent.

In a blistering attack on Mayo County Council, environmental consultant  Peter  Sweetman, accused the authority of only being interested in financial gain (from rates) and of not enforcing conditions.

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