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Council to get briefing on ‘gas to the west’ project

Plans for a new multi-million pound natural gas pipeline stretching from Portadown to Enniskillen and beyond will be unveiled shortly.

A briefing on the major ‘gas to the west’ development will be given to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, as one of a number of council areas in which is it proposed to construct the network.

A planning application will be submitted soon hy SGN Natural Gas and its commercial partner, Northern Ireland Energy Holdings.

Together they hope to supply gas to the west of Northern Ireland.

The applicant will meet the council to outline the plans and how it proposed to engage with the local communities in terms of consultation and during any future construction.

They have written to the council to give notice of their proposal to submit a planning application for the development.

Section 27 of the Planning Act (NI) 2011 requires anyone proposing to submit a planning application for a major development to undertake Pre-Application Community Consultation (PACC) in advance of submitting their application.

The applicants for the gas pipeline have received confirmation from the Department of the Environment (DoE) that the proposal would, if carried out, be “of regional significance to the whole or a substantial part of Northern Ireland”, have “significant effects outside of Northern Ireland” or “involve a substantial departure from the local development plan for the area to which it relates”.

SGN Energy has agreed to undertake an extensive PACC process and wishes to involve ABC council officers and officials at the earliest opportunity.gas use

They hope to connect new gas pipeline networks to deliver natural gas to a number of towns located in the west of Northern Ireland by the end of 2017.

And this will entail construction of substantial new gas pipeline infrastructure.

It would include a gas transmission pipeline – approximately 76 kilometres long – between Portadown and Tullykenneye, which is west of Fivemiletown.

The network will comprise of new 300 mm 85 bar HP pipeline and will run from an existing off-take at Portadown, across to the west of Northern Ireland, providing further off-takes for Dungannon, Cookstown, Magherafelt, Omagh, Enniskillen and Derrylin.

Works involved in construction of the pipeline are summarised as follows:

Fencing of the temporary working width, (generally around 30 metres) known as the ‘spread’, between site accesses within which site traffic and construction operations will be confined;

Removal of field boundaries as required and associated storage of stripped topsoil. Storage will be facilitated to one side of the spread;

Appropriate trench excavation to accommodate the pipe. Associated soil will be stored on the other side of the spread;

Delivery to and storage of individual pipe lengths within the spread, where they will be positioned for welding together to form pipe ‘strings’ which will subsequently be lowered into the excavated trench using specialised plant. All welds will be radio-graphically or ultra-sonically tested and the entire pipeline is hydrostatically pressure tested;

Once the pipe is lowered into place the trench is backfilled, in reverse order of excavation, with compaction to ensure subsidence does not occur; and

The topsoil is then redistributed over the working spread, all field boundaries replaced as original and the land is returned to its former use as quickly as possible.

Any field drainage disturbed during the construction works would be reinstated in accordance with the standard Code of Practice.

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