South-North Gas Pipeline Gets Go Ahead
Published on Tue, 20 Dec 2005
Environment Minister Jeff Rooker has announced his intention to grant planning permission for the south-north gas pipeline.
The underground pipeline is approximately 165 kilometres long and crosses the border with the Republic of Ireland at Forkhill, Co Armagh.
Jeff Rooker said: "This significant infrastructure project is good news for the Northern Ireland economy. The South-North gas pipeline will expand the existing transmission network and link the systems north and south of the border providing security of supply. I am delighted to announce this decision before Christmas."
Eight planning applications will be approved for the pipeline which travels underground through Newry and Mourne, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Antrim, Newtownabbey and Larne District Council areas. The pipeline will link into the North West pipeline at Ballyalbanagh north of Ballyclare. It will facilitate the onward distribution of gas for cities and towns along the route such as Newry, Banbridge, Armagh and Craigavon.
Energy Minister Angela Smith said: "I welcome the news that planning approval is to be granted for this major project, allowing construction work to commence in the new year.
"The new pipeline will enhance the existing gas infrastructure in Northern Ireland, and help promote both the environmental and social benefits which gas offers for consumers.''
Notes to Editors
- The proposal includes the construction of a 95.6km long 450mm diameter welded steel underground gas pipeline with a design pressure of 85-bar and including 5 number Above Ground Installations (AGIs) .
- The Project is managed by BGE (Northern Ireland) whose agents are Kirk McClure Morton, Belfast tel 028 9066 7914.
- The pipeline is the northern section of 165km gas inter-connector which is proposed to run from Gormanstown, Co Meath crossing the border near Forkhill and terminating at Ballyalbanagh north of Ballyclare. It travels underground through 8 Council areas, Newry and Mourne, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Lisburn, Antrim, Newtownabbey and Larne.
- The South-North pipeline project will expand the existing gas transmission network and link the systems north and south of the border providing security of supply.
- Infrastructure will be provided to facilitate the future development of a distribution system to deliver gas to consumers in the cities and towns along the pipeline route, including Newry, Banbridge, Armagh and Craigavon.
- There is support for the proposal from the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation and from DETI on the grounds that it would have economic benefits in that it will make a significant contribution to the economy and will bring wider environmental and social benefits to Northern Ireland.
- The Regional Development Strategy - 'Shaping Our Future' provides the overarching framework for planning policy and development across the Region. This document sets out the spatial framework to complement the Economic Development Strategy 2010. The RDS highlights the importance of encouraging cross-border energy interconnections to create an all island energy market linkages to the Great Britain and European markets distribution grids. The creation of an inter-regional natural gas network, as proposed by BGE (NI), will help meet the long-term policy directions, from a strategic spatial perspective, for the public and private sector and the whole community within Northern Ireland.
- The eight planning applications were processed under the special arrangements set out in Article 31 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991. Under these arrangements DOE has three options, issue a notice of opinion to refuse, issue a notice of opinion to approve or call a Public Inquiry by the Planning Appeals Commission. In this instance the Minister's decision is to issue a Notices of Opinion to approve, subject to conditions.
Further News Media queries tel: DOE Press Office 028 9054 0003.
For operational queries contact BGE (Northern Ireland) tel: 028 9040 2296