Friday 27 April 2018

An Taisce to dispute licence for Shell gas pipeline

Fergus Black

AN Taisce was yesterday given the go-ahead to challenge the decision to grant a foreshore licence for Shell's controversial Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo.

The challenge, which the judge described as part of an "ongoing saga" surrounding Shell's plans to develop the pipeline in Co Mayo, was given the green light by the Commercial Court.

Seeking the judicial review, James Devlin counsel for An Taisce, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the Minister for the Environment granted a foreshore licence for the pipeline on July 22 last.

Habitat

It was part of An Taisce's case that in granting that licence, the minister or those acting on his behalf applied the wrong habitat directive "tests" for the protection of certain species of animals, particularly otters in the area around the route of the pipeline.

In its affidavit An Taisce pointed out that it was not opposed "to the utilisation of the Corrib Gas field per se".

However, the heritage protection agency said it was very concerned at the manner in which consent for the project has been obtained and at the manner in which the project as a whole had been split into a number of parts and over a number of different consents.

Standard

"This, An Taisce fears, is giving rise to a poor standard of decision making and an absence of strategic Environmental assessment or holistic development, appraisal and assessment, and has created issues with compliance with the requirements of the EIA (environmental impact assessment) directive in particular."

Granting the application, Mr Justice Kelly said there had been very detailed challenges at every stage in the process which had resulted in judicial review proceedings in connection with the pipeline which are due to begin next Tuesday in the High Court.

In order to ensure there was no unnecessary delay in time or expenditure he ordered that the latest judicial review challenge to the foreshore licence would be dealt with at the end of the case due to start next week, he said.

"It would be a mistake to see this application in isolation because it is part and parcel of an ongoing saga concerning the plans of Shell to develop and bring to fruition its plans for the Corrib pipeline," said the judge.

Irish Independent

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