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Consents wrangle leaves gas storage project in limbo

Words: Roger Milne
Stormont | Shutterstock_114096184

InfraStrata, the company behind contentious proposals for a gas storage facility at Islandmagee, has accused the Northern Irish government of 'dithering' over licences needed before the project, which has planning permission, can proceed.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has confirmed to The Planner that its officials are currently considering applications from InfraStrata for both a marine construction licence and permission to abstract and discharge water.

These are required by the company before it can start building the scheme near Larne, which will involve creating huge caverns under the seabed to store gas.

The department said: “Due to the strategic nature of the proposed Islandmagee project, the award or withholding of these consents will be subject to the minister’s decision.

 “DAERA officials are currently working through the determinations. The minister will then consider whether there is a need to refer the decision to the Executive Committee”.

This is because the project is highly controversial and has more than one department involved in approving key aspects of the scheme.

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