Decision on gas refinery and combustion plant at Bellanaboy Bridge, County Mayo

Date released: Jan 26 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced details of its Proposed Decision to licence Shell E&P Ireland Limited to develop gas refinery and combustion plant facilities at Bellanaboy Bridge, Bellagelly South, County Mayo.

If approved, the proposed decision provides for the processing of 9.9 million cubic metres of natural gas per day that will be exported to the Bord Gais Eireann (BGE) distribution network. The proposed decision contains more than 85 individual conditions relating to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the proposed refinery.

The EPA is satisfied that emissions from the refinery, when operated in accordance with the conditions of the proposed licence, will not adversely affect human health or the environment and will meet all relevant national and EU standards.

Conditions imposed include:

  • Strict controls on emissions;
  • A high standard of treatment of waste water prior to its discharge via a submarine pipeline off-shore at a depth of 65 metres and the discharge will be outside the Broadhaven Bay Special Area of Conservation.

The Office of Environmental Enforcement will monitor and enforce these conditions through environmental audits, unannounced site visits and systematic checks on emissions. 

The licence application


The licence application, register number P0738-01, sought permission for the operation of a gas refinery and large combustion plant at the site.

The EPA has considered the application and supporting documentation, including an Environmental Impact Statement, received from the applicant, 35 valid submissions received from other parties and the report of its inspector.

Next steps

There now follows a 28-day public consultation period in which objections or requests for oral hearings can be lodged with the EPA by any person or body, including the applicant. 

In this case the period ends on 21st February 2007 and objections should be directed to EPA Headquarters, PO Box 3000, Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford.  As the EPA can only consider objections received before the period ends it is essential that an objection be made to the EPA in good time. 

All objections, and submissions on objections, will be carefully considered before the EPA Board makes a final decision. 

As this is the first step in a statutory licensing process, the EPA is not in a position to comment further on the proposed decision.

ENDS


Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-70770 (24 hours)


Notes to the Editor:

The EPA received the licence application on 8th December 2004.  Further information was sought from the applicant and was received by the EPA, completing the application, on 12th October 2006. 

 

How the licensing process works: 

  1. Given the complexity and scale of some IPPC activities, the EPA provides pre-application clarification and consultation so that applications are as complete as possible.
  2. Once received, the application is rigorously assessed by a team of experts from the EPA’s Office of Licensing and Guidance.
  3. Extra information may be required from the applicant during this assessment.
  4. When the application is deemed complete, and has been fully assessed, the Office of Licensing and Guidance makes a recommendation on the application to the Board of Directors of the EPA.
  5. The Board assesses the recommendation, together with the application and all submissions, before making a decision.
  6. The Board’s decision, in the form of a Proposed Determination (PD), is notified to the applicant, all third parties who made a submission on the application and other statutory consultees.
  7. There follows a 28-day period when any person can submit an objection and request an oral hearing. 
  8. All objections and submissions on objections are considered by a Technical Committee of the EPA or through an oral hearing process.
  9. Should the EPA decided to hold an oral hearing any person who lodged a valid objection, as well as the applicant, and the local authority (where relevant) has an automatic right to attend the hearing and participate fully.  All hearings are open to the public.  Members of the public can participate in the proceedings where they have lodged a valid objection or with the express approval of the Chairperson. 
  10. On completion of an oral hearing, the Chairperson will submit a report of the hearing to the EPA.  In this report, the Chairperson must make a recommendation to grant or refuse a licence.  Where the recommendation is to grant a licence, the Chairperson must outline the recommended conditions to be attached to the licence.
  11. The recommendations of a Technical Committee, or of the Chairperson of an oral hearing, together with all objections and submissions, are considered by the Board of Directors before making a final decision to either refuse a licence or to grant a licence with or without conditions.
  12. The EPA is debarred in law from granting an IPPC licence unless it is satisfied that the activity concerned, carried out in accordance with such conditions as may be attached to a licence, will not cause environmental pollution.