Western People (Ireland): It’s going ahead… Shell gets approval for Bellanaboy gas terminal: “THE largest and most contentious construction project ever proposed for County Mayo has been given the go-ahead.”: “Shell has been warned that it will have to cease work if it fails to uphold the guidelines that have been laid down.” (ShellNews.net)
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
THE largest and most contentious construction project ever proposed for County Mayo has been given the go-ahead.
Shell reland Ltd (formerly Enterprise Energy Ireland) has received planning permission for the development of a 500m gas terminal at Bellanaboy, on the North Mayo coastline. An Bord Pleanála announced its ruling last Friday evening, thus bringing to a conclusion one of the most protracted and hotly debated planning cases in Irish history.
The grant of planning permission comes with a total of 42 conditions, many of which are designed to protect the environment and the health and safety of the residents of Bellanaboy. The company is also required to pay 6 million to Mayo County Council for infrastructural improvements in Erris.
In making its controversial decision, An Bord Pleanála said it had to take into account the “strategic importance” of the proposed development, both nationally and regionally. The Board said it accepted the project would cause “disruption and inconvenience” to local residents but it would not be “unduly injurious” to the Bellanaboy area.
While the focus is primarily on the village of Bellanaboy, last Friday’s decision also has serious implications for residents in Srahmore and Attavally in Bangor Erris. Shell Ireland intends to use a blanket bog in Bangor Erris for the deposition of 450,000 cubic metres of waste peat, which will be excavated from the terminal site. The material will be transported by lorries through a network of local roads during a six-month period.
Strict conditions have been attached to the planning application in relation to traffic management during the peat transportation period. Shell has been warned that it will have to cease work if it fails to uphold the guidelines that have been laid down.
There has been a broad welcome in Erris for the decision with public representatives calling for an end to the “division” that has dogged the controversial project.
“I genuinely hope people can now put the divisions of the past behind them,” Cllr Gerry Coyle told the Western People. “We have to embrace this project and we have to move on. I believe the gas terminal will be the engine that drives Erris into the future.”
Belmullet-based Cllr Tim Quinn said it was imperative that locals were given the ‘first call’ on all jobs associated with the mammoth project.
While the political representatives were welcoming the granting of planning permission, local protestors were considering their next move. Mrs Maura Harrington, who has been the most vocal of the objectors, said she may yet take a judicial review of the decision.
“I am not disappointed at this decision, I am disgusted. This report is patently unjust and nothing will convince me otherwise. As long as I remain disgusted I will remain annoyed and as long as I remain annoyed I will remain active.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Shell Ireland, Mr Andy Pyle said the latest decision represented “a major step forward for the project”.
“We are delighted to have received An Bord Pleanála’s positive decision for Corrib. We will now review the full report and associated conditions from An Bord Pleanála and assess what it may mean for the current plans for Corrib.”