The company behind the extensive gas storage scheme deep below Larne Lough has offered an assurance to the community over safety.
Islandmagee Energy, a subsidiary of InfraStrata, says that the concerns of residents will “always be a priority” for the company.
Once complete, the Islandmagee storage 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 says that 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”.
Islandmagee Energy has stated that the project has undergone “numerous intensive safety and environmental impact assessments” before planning permission for the deep underground gas storage system was approved in 2012.
Infrastrata CEO and Islandmagee Energy’s Managing DIrector John Wood says integrating and communicating with all communities is central to Islandmagee Energy’s priorities.
“As we implement our community engagement and communications programme, a new Facebook page (Islandmagee Energy) has been created to help local communities, businesses and politicians clearly understand the full facts and details surrounding the development. This follows on from the extensive community engagement work that was carried out prior to planning permission being secured.
“Planning permission was granted for this vital energy infrastructure development that will guarantee security of energy power supply for the local communities and Northern Ireland, following some of the most intensive impact assessments undertaken for any project in Northern Ireland.
“We are now preparing to start enabling works on the site and as part of our planned and ongoing community relations work, we will keep everybody up to date on progress, and more importantly, provide a facility to quickly answer any concerns local residents may have.
“The Facebook page is live and will soon be followed by our updated website which contains full details and plans for everyone to see,
“We are dedicated to protecting the environment in all its forms particularly in this area of Islandmagee which has undergone much industrial development in recent decades.
“While we have been happy to undergo the most in-depth scrutiny into our plans and are delighted to have been given the green light, we expect people will want a clearer understanding of why this project is vitally important for future generations.
“Having now completed the design work, we are in a position to demonstrate the various additional (above regulatory requirements) safety features we have built into the design such as underground well heads, how it brings benefits to the local economy and to local communities and the vital role it plays in the wider Northern Ireland economy.
“To this end, we are ramping up our communications work so as to reassure people, to provide accurate, factual and third-party endorsed information and to share the excitement of this project whose technologies have been tried, tested and proven in many parts of Europe for several decades.”