Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the Hess 'Shannon LNG' project
Negative Effects on the Shannon Estuary
Nevada LNG Explosion

Licensing Process

Foreshore Licence to Construct Marine Aspect of Shannon LNG Terminal

23rd April 2010: Foreshore Licence given without SEA proves double standards in Ireland and condemned as Legal Corruption and a breach of the Public Trust Doctrine.

The EU Commission agreed in January 2010 that more than 10,000 people would be affected by the traffic of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tankers to the proposed LNG  regasification terminal on the Shannon Estuary in North Kerry at Tarbert.
The Commission found that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) should have been completed for what is being termed a Strategic Project given planning permission under the fast-track legislation by the "Strategic Infrastructure Act, 2006". We believe that the LNG project would sterilise the Estuary for all future development.

Safety Before LNG', vindicated by the EU Commission findings, is now of the opinion that if the Irish Government is to show even token respect for EU Directives requiring comprehensive Strategic and Environmental Assessments then an LNG Marine Risk Assessment must be undertaken along with an SEA before any Foreshore Licence is given. It is impossible to ascertain the cumulative effects of the project if no such assessment is completed.

A Foreshore Licence is a permit to construct the marine aspect of the enitre proposed LNG Teminal covering 25 acres on SAC waters. In January 2010, following the enactment of the Foreshore and Dumping at Sea (Amendment) Act 2009, the Minister of the Environment, Mr. John Gormley, took over responsiblity for issuing Foreshore Licences from the Minister for Agriculture.

We believe that following the EU Commission's interim findings it will be next to impossible for Minister Gormley to issue a Foreshore Licence without the proper assessments as required under EU Directives.

There are currently 4 conflicting Plans for the Development of the Shannon Estuary:

  1. A Plan for an intensified electricity-generation hub on the Estuary given the proposed minimum 230 MW gas-fired power generation plan proposed by Shannon LNG adjacent to the proposed LNG terminal at Tarbert (separate to the proposed 450 MW Endesa plant at Tarbert island) under the name “Ballylongford Electricity Company”;
  2. A Plan for a “European Transhipment Hub” or “Global Deepwater Shipping Resource”, supported by Shannon & Foynes Port Company and by the 500-member “Atlantic Way” development agency to take advantage of the widening of the Panama Canal which will, from 2014, be able to take even larger ships across the Atlantic Ocean;
  3. A Plan for a Renewable Energy Hub, under the name “Shannon Energy Valley” being promoted by the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Silicon Valley’s Irish Technology Leadership Group aiming to reduce Ireland’s carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuel imports and
  4. A Plan for an Oil and Gas Storage Hub surrounding the proposed LNG regasification terminal in what would become the most sizeable hazard in Ireland. This project is being pushed by Shannon Development which lost its main job-creation role in July 2005 to the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, but retained its property-management portfolio.
Shannon Development owns the land on which the LNG terminal would be built. This project, if it succeeds, will be the largest money-spinner for Shannon Development, ensuring its economic survival as an organisation. Shannon Development, as a property developer and landlord, with the institutionalised culture of an estate agent, has therefore lost its credibility in our eyes. Shannon Development’s level of understanding and awareness of the strategic issues were highlighted at Kerry County Council last Monday when it stated that Shannon LNG:

“will stop the process of importing 95% of the country’s gas requirements” (click here to see ‘Kerry’s Eye’, March 25th 2010).

Cork port, in 2001, commissioned a study to assess what the port needed to provide in order to become a transhipment hub (Report on the Establishment of the Port of Cork as a Transatlantic Container and Trans-shipment Hub”, Nautical Enterprise Centre, Cork, 2001). This is a relevant example of a port and region thinking strategically. In other words, it was studying the physical conditions necessary to have a transhipment hub, not the marketing conditions (which change over time).

If any equivalent report has been undertaken by Shannon Development or Shannon Foynes Port Company, then it has been kept very quiet.

According to the Commissioner of Irish lights, the navigable waters at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary are only 315 metres wide.

At Christmas 2009, a ship got caught in a buoy chain in this area for several days. Shannon Foynes Port Company undertook a marine navigational assessment to prove that ships could travel the Estuary but did not undertake any marine LNG risk assessment to ascertain the sterilising effect exclusion zones around LNG tankers would have on the development of the Estuary as a whole or the cumulative impacts of such a project.

It is impossible to assess the 4 different Plans for the Estuary in order to realise the full potential of the Shannon Estuary Ports without:

  1. an independent marine LNG risk assessment of the dangers and effects of LNG spills on water (as supported by the European Court of Human Rights for the Milford Haven LNG Plants) and
  2. an independent Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the cumulative impacts of the various Plans for the Shannon Estuary (as supported by the European Commission).

Irreversible Strategic Projects should not be developed by cutting corners or without any strategic planning.

Click here to view the shorter version of the 'Safety Before LNG'  submission on the Foreshore Licence Application by Shannon LNG (5 MB)

Click here to view the complete version of the 'Safety Before LNG'  submission on the Foreshore Licence Application by Shannon LNG
(20.7 MB)