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

Licensing Process - LNG Terminal

Planning Permission for Shannon LNG Terminal

Submission by  Member of the European Parliament (M.E.P.) Kathy Sinnott.

Kathy Sinnott MEP

St. Joseph, Ballinaberna,

Ballinhassig, Co. Cork

An Bord Pleanala,

64 Marlborough Street,

Dublin 1.

13th November 2007

Direct Planning Application to An Bord Pleanala in Respect of a Strategic Infrastructure Development

Case reference: PL08 .PA0002 (liquefied natural gas regasification terminal proposed for Ralappane and Kilcolgan Lower, Co. Kerry)

Subject matter of submission or observation: Proposed LNG Regasification Terminal


As Member of the European Parliament, I take a keen interest in the proposed plans for the LNG Regasification Terminal and take this opportunity to make this submission based on four existing EU Directives to express my concerns and observations. In my opinion, existing EU legislation will help to highlight the number of negative affects of the proposed LNG Plant on the Shannon Estuary.

  1. Seveso II Directive:

I believe that the proposed gas terminal poses a great danger to residents should a major accident occur at the plant or at sea. The threat to the local communities arising from this incredibly explosive, condensed form of gas should not be underestimated. The gas is so flammable that even a small leak can do a great deal of damage and a serious accident or terrorist attack would result in a nuclear sized explosion minus the radiation. In Europe, following the Seveso accident in 1976 prompted the adoption of legislation aimed at the prevention and control of such accidents. The Seveso II Directive applies to some thousands of industrial establishments where dangerous substances are present in quantities exceeding the thresholds in the Directive. The obligations of the Directive have become mandatory for industry as well as the public authorities of the Member States responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Directive. The concepts included in this Directive refer to a revision and extension of the scope, the introduction of new requirements relating to safety management systems, emergency planning and land-use planning and a reinforcement of the provisions on inspections to be carried out by Member States. The most important extensions of the scope of that Directive are to cover risks arising from storage and processing activities in mining, from pyrotechnic and explosive substances and from the storage of ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate based fertilizers. Not only does the Seveso II Directive acknowledge the great risks arising from the proposed LNG plant in Shannon, this piece of EU legislation obliges the Irish government to take into account and respect the safety risks involved and comply with the necessary safety requirements including greater security, safety distance etc. The Shannon LNG Company have based their model for safety on the Health and Safety Authority guidelines for similar industry in Ireland yet in the absence of other similar proposal on the island. Taking into consideration the aims and requirements of the Seveso II Directive, many questions regarding the prevention and control of disastrous accidents remain unanswered. The proposed plans for the LNG plant in Shannon must not be allowed to go ahead unless the Irish government and the LNG Company are in the position to guarantee provisions for the prevention and control of potential accidents. The exclusion zone, an important safety and security requirement in the development of the proposed Plant, will negatively affect the two existing ports in the Shannon Estuary and other industries in the region. The exclusion zone will diminish local planning and future housing developments in the area making it difficult to obtain planning permissions and negatively affect property prices thus sterilising the region. Tens of dwellings in the immediate area that enjoy the amenity provided by uninterrupted views of the Shannon Estuary will have their vistas destroyed and consequentially there will be serious injury to property values.

2. EU Habitats Directive:

Given the scale of the proposed plant, with each tank 96m in diameter and 50m in height they will be an unacceptable blight on the landscape and the natural habitat that front onto the Shannon Estuary. It should be noted that all other LNG Plants have one thing in common in that they are located in port areas and not ‘green field’ sites in scenic rural area like the Shannon Estuary. Within Europe natural habitats are continuing to deteriorate and an increasing number of wild species are seriously threatened. The massive ships that will transport the gas to terminals where it will be stored and piped into the gas grid and ultimately to customers, will have a devastating affect on the wildlife including dolphins and birds in the Shannon Estuary. The company estimates that there will be 125 shipments to the terminal a year which means 250 trips through the Shannon estuary. Shannon LNG plan to use millions of gallons of Seawater per day to regasify the LNG, this will be chlorinated/disinfected so as to protect their heat exchanging equipment and released back in to the estuary. As the seawater is used to reheat a cryogenic liquid it will be returned to source at a significantly lower temperature. Fears abound that this procedure will have catastrophic effects on fisheries and marine life. It is clear that such interference with seawater content and temperature is bound to have huge ecological consequences.

The EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) recognises that the preservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment include the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna as an objective of general interest. The purpose of the Directive is to promote the maintenance of biodiversity and to make a contribution to the general objective of sustainable development. It aims to protect some 220 habitats and approximately 1000 species listed in the directive's Annexes (Annex I covers habitats, Annexes II, IV & V species). More importantly, the EU Habitats Directive led to the setting up of a network of Special Areas of Conservation, which together with the existing Special Protection Areas form a network of protected sites across the European Union called Natura 2000. The designation of the entire Shannon estuary as a SAC entitles the dolphins to full habitat protection and it the most powerful wildlife conservation legislation in the EU. The area is of international ecological importance and contains 18 important habitats and six vertebrate species (three species of Lamprey, Bottlenose dolphin, Otter and Freshwater Pearl Mussel) as well as including six bird species (Brent Goose, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit). The Shannon estuary east of Askeaton/Kildysert has been designated as a SPA. Given the special status of the Shannon Estuary as a SAC and SPA, the bulk and scale of the proposed plant as well as the environmental impact on the area will be considered a breach of the EU Habitats Directive.

3. IPPC Directive

The daily shipments of gas in the Shannon Estuary and the industrial production processes of the proposed scale will account for a considerable share of the overall pollution in the area and a potential industrial accident will completely destroy the environment. The EU has a set of common rules for permitting and controlling industrial installations in. In essence, the IPPC Directive is about minimising pollution from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Operators of industrial installations covered by Annex I of the IPPC Directive are required to obtain an authorisation (environmental permit) from the Environmental Protection Agency. The IPPC Directive is based on several principles, namely (1) an integrated approach, (2) best available techniques, (3) flexibility and (4) public participation. The integrated approach means that the permits must take into account the whole environmental performance of the plant, covering e.g. emissions to air, water and land, generation of waste, use of raw materials, energy efficiency, noise, prevention of accidents, and restoration of the site upon closure. The purpose of the Directive is to ensure a high level of protection of the environment taken as a whole. It is reasonable to conclude that the proposed Plant will contribute to a large scale pollution of the Shannon Estuary with a devastating affect on the wildlife and the whole environment. The environmental pollution will be beyond restoration. In regards to public participation in the consultation process, I believe it is essential to provide the public with sufficient time and independent expertise and allow the community to come to their own conclusions and make a decision that takes into account the needs of the local community. The consultation procedure taken up by LNG Company, a company unknown in Ireland lacks the sufficient and independent expertise to help the local communities make the right decision.

4. EIA Directive

The procedures outlined in the EIA Directive (EU legislation) on Environmental Impact Assessment ensure that environmental consequences of projects are identified and assessed before authorisation is given. It is of utmost importance that the Environmental Impact Assessment will be extended to the whole Shannon Estuary and not only focus on the selected 104 hectare (257 acre) site located on the Shannon Estuary between Tarbert and Ballylongford in Co. Kerry.


It is clear that this type of development does not belong at this location. This form of development was included in the Strategic Infrastructure Act but there is no real strategic need for a terminal in Ireland at the moment just as there is no accepted need for a Nuclear Power Station. It is probable that the company have comprehensive research conducted on future supply going forward as they are requesting a 10 year permission which will allow them to construct one tank and then take a wait and see approach as to the viability of the project. In essence they are seeking a 10 year construction window where tanks will be added as desired. People in the area who are unaware of this approach would consider it grossly unacceptable to live adjacent to a construction site with all its associated hazards and nuisances for such a lengthy period. I wish to point out that this is a fossil fuel and therefore ultimately unsustainable like all non renewable energy sources. I urge An Bord Pleanala to carefully analyse this project and to strive to utilise independent and objective expertise that can expose this project for its many shortcomings.

Kathy Sinnott MEP

Vice-President Petitions Committee

Member Environment, Public Health

and Food Safety Committee