Sunday 18 March 2018

Gas boost for Longford on back of €200m holiday village

Longford hopes to benefit from the extension of the gas pipeline to the Center Parcs development
Longford hopes to benefit from the extension of the gas pipeline to the Center Parcs development

Sam Griffin

Residents in Longford look set to gain from an off-shoot of the cross-country gas pipeline that is expected to be extended to the new Center Parcs holiday camp.

The management of the holiday village is in negotiations to have the Dublin to Galway pipeline extended, and will cite a gas link as an advantage when the company's plan- ning application is submitted to Longford County Council either next month or in September.

The move is being hailed locally as a huge boost to the economy, though there are some concerns that the move could run through privately-owned land and would result in compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) being issued in Longford.

One solution that may be looked at is to run the pipeline along the R392 to remove the issue of CPOs.

Longford does not benefit from gas energy as it is not connected to the national network.

Extending the network to a new town is subject to approval by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and Gas Networks Ireland.

Certain economic criteria must be met following an assessment for a town to be added to the network.

"Gas Networks Ireland has completed three comprehensive studies to assess nearly 80 towns for connections to the gas network, a spokesperson said.

"The result is that more than 20 new towns have been connected in recent years.

"To date, Longford has not qualified for connection on economic grounds as there is not sufficient gas demand in the town to make a project viable."

However, the development of the €200m Center Parcs village, which will employ 1,000 staff when completed and is estimated to be worth €32m to Irish GDP every year, may change this.

Irish Independent

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