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Licensing Process

7th September 2007: Decision by An Bord Pleanála following secret meetings with Shannon LNG that the Shannon LNG terminal qualifies as a development to be considered under the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006


                                                                         

Kilcolgan Residents Association

c/o Johnny McElligott

Island View,

5 Convent Street,

Listowel,

County Kerry

safetybeforelng@hotmail.com

Tel: (087) 2804474


28th November 2007

Mr. Patrick Cosgrave,

Official Complaints Section,

An Bord Pleanala,

64 Marlborough Street,

Dublin 1


By Email only to P.cosgrave@pleanala.ie


Private and Confidential


Re: Complaint about breach of Procedures at An Bord Pleanala 08.PC0002


Dear Patrick,


Yesterday, on reviewing the pre-consultation documents of the Shannon LNG case PC0002 which was declared as qualifying for fast-track planning on September 7th 2007, I noticed some extremely serious issues which are now the subject of this complaint.


There is a written record of a pre-application consultation between An Bord Pleanala and Shannon LNG for PC0002 which took place on May 2nd 2007.


The problem is that there are two versions of the minutes of this meeting which are materially different.


The meeting was attended by Des Johnson, Kevin Moore, Gerard Egan, Marcella Doyle and Siohban White of An Bord Pleanala. Shannon LNG was represented at the meeting by Paddy Power, Samy Ibrahim, Peter Langford and Ria Lyden.

The meeting record was signed by Des Johnson on May 28th 2007 and the last page with his signature is the exact same in both documents i.e. it is the same page while the content of both documents is materially different.


Among others, the following changes were made:

1.

Part of a Natural Heritage Area and a Special Area of Conservation extend into the site. The footprint of the proposed development is stated to be outside the SAC but may still affect the integrity of the site

was changed to:

Part of a Natural Heritage Area and a Special Area of Conservation extend into the site. The footprint of the proposed development is stated to be outside the SAC. Studies are underway to confirm that it will not affect the integrity of the site”

2.

The prospective applicant explained the ownership issue – see the rectangle outlined on page 5 of the Display Boards Booklet and stated this area is owned by a local person”.

was changed to:

The prospective applicant explained the ownership issue – see the rectangle outlined on page 5 of the Display Boards Booklet and stated this area is claimed to be owned by a local person”.


3.

Road Impacts. The Board advised that this issue should be addressed when making the application assuming that some construction traffic will be by road. The E.I.S. should address the ‘worst case’ scenario, which would include distribution of the product by road.”

was changed to:

Road Impacts. The Board advised that this issue should be addressed when making the application assuming that some construction traffic will be by road. The prospective applicant has no plans to move LNG by road.


4.

The Board raised the issue of association with a nearby proposed petroleum storage facility and the cumulative impact of the proposals. The prospective applicant stated it would not foresee any problem in having the proposal beside the petroleum storage facility but that it would not be logisticaly feasible for its development to share facilities such as the jetty with the petroleum storage facility”

was changed to:

The Board raised the issue of association with a nearby proposed petroleum storage facility and the cumulative impact of the proposals. The prospective applicant stated that they were not aware of the details of the mooted petroleum storage facility but that it would not be logisticaly feasible for its development to share facilities such as the jetty with the mooted petroleum storage facility”.


I notice that a copy of this document was sent to Paddy Power of Shannon LNG on June 15th 2007 by Marcella Doyle. It was forwarded internally “for comments if any” to Brian Hunt, Deputy Chairman of An Bord Pleanala on June 19th. 2007 by Marcella Doyle. On July 2nd 2007, Siobhan White sent a “copy of the suggested amendments” to Paddy Power of Shannon LNG.


You can’t change history. You cannot unsay what was said.

Who changed this document? Who requested it changed? Why was it changed?


The four sections we highlighted above have:

  1. given the impression that the integrity of SAC and NHA areas would not be affected when the opposite was stated in the meeting;

  2. given the impression there is only a minor claim to some of the land surrounded by the development when it was clearly stated in the meeting that it was owned by someone else;

  3. given the impression that there will be no transportation of LNG by road when the meeting covered the need for a “worst-case scenario” in a risk assessment for road transportation of LNG and

  4. given the impression that Shannon LNG was not aware of the details of the petroleum storage facility proposed by SemEuro when the meeting gives the clear impression that Shannon LNG were very much aware of the proposal and had no problems with it. If anyone is building a top-tier Seveso II development worth hundreds of millions of Euro, it would seem logical to assume that they would inform themselves of the details of what was being built next door?

These changes are not “minor amendments”, as suggested in the minutes of the meeting of June 27th, 2007 as they had an enormous bearing on the final decision given.


We await your reply

Yours sincerely,

Johnny McElligott

Issues to be answered in Complaint about breach of Procedures at An Bord Pleanala 08.PC0002

As mentioned abve, there is a written record of a pre-application consultation between An Bord Pleanala and Shannon LNG for PC0002 which took place on May 2nd 2007.


The problem is that there are two versions of the minutes of this meeting.


For us, the gravity of the changes to a recorded meeting is that serious areas of concern were changed. If anyone is building a top-tier Seveso II development worth hundreds of millions of Euro, do you not think that they would inform themselves of who was building what next door? If I, Johnny McElligott,  as an outsider, was able to find Byrne O’Cleirigh and Kieran Parker then surely someone like Paddy Power would be able to find out what SemEuro was up to.


I believe that if Shannon LNG asked for the amendments to be made, they did so following legal advice – hoping the changes would never be picked up. An Bord Pleanala should have refused to make those amendments because they were putting the lives of the nearby residents in danger by cutting corners for this Seveso 2 development and allowing it be fast-tracked through the planning process.


If An Bord Pleanala made the changes then this is even more serious because it would mean that they were definitely guilty of “agency capture”, falsifying statements and almost writing the planning application for the developer – and again putting our lives at risk by not following correct procedure.


This issue goes right to the top of An Bord Pleanala.


How can the developer’s application be nurtured so carefully and we, the property owners and residents near this Seveso 2 development be denied access to the information on what type of tank farm is planned for next door? In 1979, the Whiddy disaster caused the death of 50 people. Have we not learned anything? We fear that a tank farm of up to 80 tanks as is the case next to the Dragon LNG terminal in Milford Haven could be planned for Tarbert and you have not only mislead the public but are deliberately hiding relevant information which is preventing us from participating fairly in the planning process.


How can you now hope to give an objective ruling on the Shannon LNG proposal?


Who can we refer your decision to, considering you have helped prepare the application for the developer and are therefore obviously guilty of agency capture?


How can we now equitably participate in the planning process?


What law allows you to change the minutes of a meeting held by a statutory body?


We have already complained about what we consider is another breach of procedure in this planning application by Kerry County Council and want to know why this project seems to be having a mighty force behind it?


Click here to download information on the links between the SemEuro and Shannon LNG Projects
Click here for further information on the SemEuro project and how the application has now been put on hold