North Kerry Shannon LNG project faces further legal delay

The long delayed proposed Shannon LNG project for North Kerry faces a further delay following a High Court ruling today.

Last month, Friends of the Irish Environment took a case to the court against a decision to extend the period of planning permission to the proposed development on the Tarbert-Ballylongford landbank.

Last year, An Bórd Pleanala granted a five-year extension to planning permission for the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal, which has an estimated cost of 500 million euro.

Shannon LNG says it’s reviewing today’s High Court judgment on An Bord Pleanála’s planning permission process and says it remains fully committed to advancing this critical project for Ireland’s security and diversity of energy supply as swiftly as possible.

In a detailed outlining of the case in the High Court  this morning,  Mr Justice Garrett Simons said he could not deliver a ruling and sent the case for a determination to the Courts of Justice of the European Union.

In making his determination Mr Justice Simons pointed to what he termed as a significant legal development in these types of cases specifically that the EU Court of Justice Advocate General Kokott had delivered an opinion in proceedings pending before that court, saying that the extension of duration of a development consent is, in principle, subject to the EU’s Habitats Directive.

Justice Simons posed several questions for the court to answer including contention from the Friends of the Irish Environment’s legal team that the original planning permission had expired.

It’s understood that matter will be heard at the European Court of Justice in May.

Last August, it was announced that US-based company New Fortress Energy had entered an agreement to progress the project.

If Shannon LNG goes ahead, the project would support 400 construction jobs and 100 positions when operational, it had been anticipated the facility would begin operations by the end of 2020.

This development is the latest in a series of lengthy delays to the project which was originally granted planning permission in 2008.