Show of opposition to gas storage project

An aerial view of Islandmagee.
An aerial view of Islandmagee.
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A protest will take place at Brown’s Bay in Islandmagee on Sunday over the planned underground gas storage caverns at Larne Lough.

The organisers are expecting participants to assemble at the beach at 2.00pm before walking to the headland in a show of opposition.

Planning permission for the deep underground gas storage system was approved in 2012, according to Islandmagee Energy, the company behind the project.

The facility will consist of eight underground caverns, capable of storing a total of 450 million cubic metres of gas in Permian salt beds. The company, a subsidiary of InfraStrata, says this will be carried out by using a “well-proven technique that represents the most environmentally-friendly, safe and efficient method of storing large volumes of natural gas”.

In a statement, the organisers of the walk said that families have a range of environmental concerns including potential impact on wildlife and marine life, on recreational activities and the ability of roads to cope with additional heavy vehicles.

Islandmagee Energy CEO John Wood, said: “We want to reassure Islandmagee residents and land owners that planning permission was granted for the gas storage project because of the evidence provided by independently conducted, intensive environmental impact assessments and as a result of extensive local consultation.

“Studies conducted by scientists show that the discharge will do no harm to wildlife and have minimum impact to fish and shellfish stocks.

“Any onshore plant will be low lying and landscaped to be unobtrusive and largely out of sight.”