Shell Plans to Occupy Broadhaven Bay & Sruth Fhada Chonn Estuary in 2010
Shell plan massive maritime activity for 2010, in Broadhaven Bay to secure the off-shore pipeline, and in Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary to survey a new route for the onshore Corrib gas pipeline. Submissions on the foreshore application close on Feb 23rd.
The offshore offshore Environmental Management Plan (EMP) gives details of Shell’s plans to lay concrete and rock over and around the off shore Corrib gas pipeline laid last year to fasten it in place. According to the plans survey work would be carried out during March and April, with the massive concrete and rock placing operation lasting from May right through to September.
Ominously, the plan spells out Shell’s continued disregard for the local fishing community’s incontrovertible legal and traditional right to fish in Broadhaven Bay: “Fishing activites will be restricted in the construction corridor, during marine construction activities.”
In true corporate logic, it is stated further down the document that: “There may be an impact on local fishing activities during works.”
Shell’s offshore Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for 2010 is up on the department of energy website here:
Simultaeniously Shell seek to occupy Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary via a foreshore licence. The full foreshore licence application, the notice, and maps of the proposed works are available here:
In what seems to be an effort to deter people from looking at the plans, hard copies are available at Belmullet and Ballina Garda Stations, and not at Mayo county council offices.
The foreshore work would involve bringing heavy machinery into the estuary to drill 80 boreholes between April and October. This would last well past the ABP “deadline” of May 31st for submission of further information and means that Shell has no hope (or intention) of meeting it. We can assume therefore than they will seek yet another extension to the deadline. This would turn what is already an outrage into a farce. Submissions against the granting of a foreshore licence could raise this point.
An Bord Pleanála letter of the 2nd of November last year rejected Shell’s latest onshore pipeline route, but kept the application open for further information. In a bewildering attempt to extricating themselves from responsibility of failing the public on health and safety grounds on one hand, and the politicians and corporations that seek to control them on the other, An Bord Pleanála provisionally approved a pipeline up the estuary but set near impossible conditions for it to meet.
Both Broadhaven Bay and Sruth Fhada Chonn estuary are important nature reserves protected (in theory) under EU law. The proposed works would plough through them and is the surest sign yet that Shell has no intention of giving up the plan of bringing gas through Glengad to the Bellinaboy refinery site.
A cursory glance at the map of the proposed route of the investigation up the estuary shows that there is no way through for a high pressure raw gas pipeline without placing homes and lives in danger.
It would seem that Shell have been given Carte Blanche for the offshore works, but they still require a foreshore licence to survey and drill the boreholes in the estuary.
Often it is the survey work that can be most damaging to whales, dolphins, seals and other mammals. Ultrasonic testing can damage their hearing and even cause death.
This week a group of dolphins came into the bay. Instead of keeping its distance, a Shell speedboat made straight for them. Be it out of incompetence or ill-will, Shell employees cannot be trusted to obey their own environmental management plans, and Shell management cannot be trusted to enforce them.
To make a submission on the foreshore licence application to the department of the environment
quoting reference MS56/11/Jan10App
or write to...
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
...within 21 days of the notice, which appeared on the 2nd of Feb.
That should give until Tuesday evening 23rd Feb 2010 to make submissions.
After a bit of shuffling of the responsibility for foreshore licensing, it is now in John Gormley’s department.
He won’t like granting permission for this at all, especially if he receives many submissions against it.
You could send a submisson like this...
To: Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
Your ref: MS56/11/Jan10App
I am submitting that you do not grant Shell’s application for a foreshore licence to occupy Sruth Fhada Chonn Bay, in Erris Co Mayo.
The area that Shell proposes to occupy and work in is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protected Area (SPA), and by the applicant’s own admission the proposed work would damage wildlife and habitat in the estuary.
By the applicants own admission, the work would extend well beyond the An Bord Pleanala deadline of May 31st for submission of the very information they seek to gain from survey. Therefore by granting the application you would imply that the An Bord Pleanala deadline is moveable, which is not in your remit. By granting the application you would copperfasten the view that government departments interfere with An Bord Pleanala matters.
The applicant is not a responsible person to be trusted to work in an SPA or SAC. Last year, while working in Broadhaven Bay SAC, the applicant ran a ship The Flamengo aground resulting in the spillage of diesel. Other accidents included spilling of hydraulic fluid into the bay and further diesel spills.
By the applicants own admission they have not delineated the exact corridor within which works will take place, and in reality seek licence to occupy the whole estuary. Where does that leave other estuary users?
This applicant seeks a foreshore licence to assist an application for planning permission for the onshore Corrib gas pipeline. That the onshore pipeline is a project in itself is a notion fabricated by the applicant in order to split the Corrib Gas Project into three parts to facilitate the granting of planning permission. This project splitting is illegal under EU law and so this application should not be entertained by your department.
This week a group of dolphins came into the bay. Instead of keeping their distance, Shell speedboats made straight for them. Be it out of incompetence or ill-will, Shell employees cannot be trusted to obey their own environmental management plans, and Shell management cannot be trusted to enforce them.