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Wednesday 7 February 2007 10:29
Department of Trade and Industry (National)
Environmental conditions placed on South Wales pipeline
Stringent environmental conditions have today been placed on National Grid for the construction of the second phase of the pipeline connecting new gas import terminals at Milford Haven to the national transmission system. The 196km pipeline will run from Felindre near Swansea to Tirley in Gloucestershire and is one of a number of critical new gas infrastructure projects helping the UK adjust to being a net importer of gas.
Announcing consent for the project, Energy Minister Lord Truscott said:
"The potential impact of this project on the Brecon Beacons has been uppermost in my mind when considering this consent. My officials have applied rigorous assessment criteria and this process has been instrumental in enabling the company find a route which avoids the Blaenavon World Heritage Site and halves the length of pipeline going through the National Park. In consenting to the project I am placing stringent conditions on National Grid that will enable them to deliver the project on time but with the least possible environmental impact.
"I also have to be mindful of the importance of this project to our national energy needs. As the UK's own reserves of gas decline, there is a need for new infrastructure to connect new sources of imported gas to our homes and industries. The Liquefied Natural Gas terminals being built at Milford Haven will be a significant source of gas imports and it is critical that this pipeline connecting to the UK transmission system is built in the most timely and environmentally acceptable way."
Extensive and detailed consultations have taken place with the National Park Authority, the Environment Agency for Wales and the Countryside Council for Wales before the decision was taken. In addition the section through the National Park has been tested in accordance with the criteria contained in the Silkin Test which exists to control major developments which will have an impact on National Parks. The three main criteria are that (i) it must be in the National interest; (ii) there is no practicable alternative to development in a National Park; and (iii) must be built in a way that minimises detrimental effects on the environment.
The pipeline, once constructed, will be underground and out of sight. Consent has been granted based on rigorous conditions being placed on National Grid. These include:
* Appointment of an overseer by the Brecon Beacon National Park Authority to monitor works in the National Park. The person will have direct access to the Project Managers at National Grid.
* Restoration of soil to agreed methods and timetables.
* A 10 year aftercare programme to ensure that any sensitive areas are properly restored.
* Measures to safeguard protected species such as otters and dormice.
Department of Trade and Industry
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Client ref Reference P/2007/25
GNN ref 143712P