issues of credibility after Minister Ryan wrongly advised by his
Department that Shannon LNG planning application would be assessed by
Section 34 of the Planning Act, when An Bord Pleanála ruled on
June 2nd it must go through the fast-track planning section 37.
Ryan stated on Sunday June
27th on the 'This Week' programme on RTE Radio
an application is put in, I
don't believe it would be successful. Under section
34 of the Planning Act, Bord Pleanála does have to
regard of government policy decisions. We did as a government make a
earlier in May that we would not be proceeding, we did not want, we
would not support
the introduction of new LNG terminals pending a full energy review
those circumstances I would be very surprised
if An Bord Pleanála ignored the legislation and the clear
policy direction by
the government." (9 minutes and 40 seconds in).
the problem is that the Shannon LNG project will be fast-tracked using Section 37 of the Planning Act created
by the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006 and
not using the section 34 for non-strategic
infrastructure planning applications following An Bord Pleanála's explicit ruling in its decision
of June 2nd 2021 when it stated:
"the proposed development would be strategic
infrastructure within the
meaning of the Act and any application for approval must therefore be
directly to the Board under section 37E".
Section 34 is explicitly clear that any of the restrictions of section 34 only apply to applications lodged "under this section" so the fast-tracked section 37 Shannon LNG application is not impacted in the slightest by section 34 :
(2) (a) When making its decision in relation to an application under this section,
the planning authority shall be restricted to considering the proper
planning and sustainable development of the area, regard being had to—
(i) the provisions of the development plan,
(ia) any guidelines issued by the Minister under section 28,
(ii) the provisions of any special amenity area order relating to the area,
(iii) any European site or other area prescribed for the purposes of section 10(2)(c),
(iv) where relevant, the policy of the Government, the Minister or any other Minister of the Government,
(v) the matters referred to in subsection (4),
Ryan is not a bystander so saying "I
don't believe it would be successful" and "I
would be surprised if An Bord Pleanála ignored the legislation
the clear policy direction of the government" is cavalier in
extreme and does not inspire confidence. If such basic mistakes as this
being made in the advice he receives on Shannon LNG then what other
are being made, one wonders.
Minister Ryan is not sure if Shannon LNG's planning application would
successful, it is now clear that he should ask for advice from the
General on whether the published government policy against LNG
terminals is enough
to stop the Shannon LNG getting planning permission. We think it is not
under section 143, An Bord Pleanála needs only to have "regard to" government policies.
Whereas if an order to comply under Section 29(1) is given then An Bord
Pleanála "shall comply" as
long as the order is given before the planning application is lodged.
section 29 states that “The Minister
may, from time to time, issue policy directives to planning authorities
regarding any of their functions under this Act and planning
comply with any such directives in the performance
of their functions”.
29(1) applies for ALL types of applications, be they ordinary planning
applications, appeals or fast-track planning applications. That is why
a section 29(1) is so powerful. So why won't the Minister use it?
section 30 of the Planning and
Development Act, the Minister shall not exercise any power or control
relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or the
or may be concerned
Minister Ryan leaving this decision to chance when there are options
available to make a decision against Shannon LNG airtight using, for
example, section 29(1)?
Minister doesn't make those mistakes unless deliberately or mistakenly
by his advisors. This is very serious. Minister Ryan was only repeating
spokesperson for the Department of the Environment told the Irish
Examiner on June 22nd:
34 of the
Planning & Development Act requires An Bord Pleanála
(or any planning
authority) to consider the proper planning and sustainable development
area with regard being had to relevant Government policies such as the
Statement on the Importation of Fracked Gas"
If the Minister
has received wrong
advice from his
advisors on the relevant section under which Shannon LNG is going for
then this is serious grounds for concern.
Pleanála has a dual role in dealing with Strategic
Infrastructure Projects on
the European PCI
(Projects of Common
Interest) List. It is the official body in Ireland for PCI projects
that has to
report directly to DG Energy in the European Commission and ensure that
permission for such projects is expedited as quickly as possible while
same time actually being the body that decides on the planning
Given that An Bord Pleanála already illegally extended Shannon
permission (as ruled by the High
Court on November 9th, 2020), we wonder why the Minister "would be very surprised if An Bord
ignored the legislation" when An Bord Pleanála has a
record of ignoring the legislation either mistakenly or deliberately
advantage of the PCI-listed Shannon LNG project.
is now time for Minister Ryan to close the loophole to ensure that a
Shannon LNG planning application is not allowed to be permitted or
proceeded with as per published government policy, pending the outcome
of the Energy Review which the Department of Housing, Local Government
and Heritage says "is expected to be completed by the end of the current year".
Contact: John McElligott Tel: 087-2804474 / SafetyBeforeLNG@hotmail.com / www.SafetyBeforeLNG.ie
of new Government policy on fracked gas imports to An Bord
Pleanála by the Department of Housing, Local Government and
Heritage on May 26th, 2021: