The original consent to construct a pipeline granted on 15 April 2002 by the (then) Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources was subject to 24 conditions. Condition 11 of the 24 conditions attaching to the consent obliges the developer to draw up an Environmental Management Plan ("EMP"). The EMP is required to provide detailed construction methodology and to further consider all potential and predicted impacts and how they are to be managed, the mitigation and control measures and how they will be implemented as well as the monitoring proposed.
EMPs were accordingly drawn up by the developer and approved by the Department on the 6 June 2002 and again on the 28 April 2005.
In March 2008 SEPIL submitted a further updated EMP relating to the works to be undertaken that year. In examining this EMP, both the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food consulted with the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the North Western Regional Fisheries Board and the Marine Institute for the purpose of ensuring that the EMP complied with both the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. Recommendations made by any of the consultees may form conditions of any consent which may be issued by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources or by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Following receipt of the consultees advice, consent for works was granted on 27 June 2008.
In December 2008, SEPIL applied for consent to re-commence works in 2009 in relation to the landfall and offshore sections of the pipeline up to the shore valve. A revised Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was submitted in relation to this application. In examining this EMP, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources consulted with the prescribed consultees for the purpose of ensuring that the EMP complied with both the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. Following receipt of this advice, consent for works was granted on the 9 of April 2009. All submissions received in relation to the 2009 EMP can be viewed here.