Northern Ireland faces legal action over new gas storage project

Northern Eire’s resolution to log out an undersea venture that would present 1 / 4 of the UK’s gasoline storage capability will probably be challenged within the Excessive Court docket in Belfast on Tuesday over environmental considerations.

No Fuel Caverns and Buddies of the Earth Northern Eire are looking for to overturn a choice by former Division of Agriculture, Setting and Rural Affairs (DAERA) minister Edwin Poots to grant a marine licence, granting building rights in sea areas for the Islandmagee facility.

Buddies of the Earth imagine the case is the primary of its type in Northern Eire the place the courts have needed to grapple with the implications of local weather change within the context of presidency selections.

The teams are looking for to have the marine licence quashed, which means the applying for the allow can be referred again to DAERA. This might set again or finish plans to construct the largest gasoline storage facility on the island of Eire.

Poots granted the marine licence to Islandmagee Power in 2021 for the development of seven underground caverns at Larne Lough, an inlet in Antrim the place scenes from the favored TV collection Recreation of Thrones had been filmed.

In response to Harland and Wolff shipbuilding group, lslandmagee’s mother or father firm, the caverns would supply greater than 25 per cent of the UK’s pure gasoline storage capability, based mostly on 2018 information.

A judicial overview listening to scheduled to final 4 days will begin on Tuesday, the place legal professionals will argue that Poots did not correctly take into account the environmental implications of the venture when granting permission.

James Orr, director of Buddies of the Earth Northern Eire, mentioned: “We’re . . . in court docket right this moment due to flagrant breaches of environmental legislation.”

Edwin Poots mentioned he couldn’t remark upfront of the listening to.

The deliberate caverns can be carved out of salt layers below the lough by a technique generally known as resolution mining. Campaigners have claimed this resolution would then be discharged into the ocean, affecting native species together with harbour porpoise and skate.

Harland and Wolff has argued the venture, which was granted planning permission in 2012, will play a significant position in vitality safety throughout the island of Eire.

John Wooden, Harland and Wolff chief govt, informed the FT in January: “When you take a look at . . . how shut the island of Eire is to the lights going out, gasoline storage is totally essential to that stability of provide.” 

He added that the judicial overview was “a possibility to finish this as soon as and for all” and he had 4 buyers eager to become involved.

“We really welcome the judicial overview . . . all the recommendation we’ve had is every part we’ve accomplished is to the letter of the legislation,” he mentioned in an interview at H&W’s places of work in Belfast. “There’s no motive why the marine licence shouldn’t have been granted.”

DAERA mentioned: “It could not be applicable . . . to remark additional till the authorized course of has been accomplished.”

Harland and Wolff declined to remark.

Back To Top