Stop climate-trashing Gas Caverns in Larne Lough

by No Gas Caverns

Stop climate-trashing Gas Caverns in Larne Lough

by No Gas Caverns
No Gas Caverns
Case Owner
We are a community in Islandmagee, Northern Ireland, taking the government to court over its flawed decision to allow 7 sky scraper sized gas caverns in a protected area with multiple designations.
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No Gas Caverns
Case Owner
We are a community in Islandmagee, Northern Ireland, taking the government to court over its flawed decision to allow 7 sky scraper sized gas caverns in a protected area with multiple designations.
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Latest: Feb. 12, 2024

Waiting for the gas caverns Court of Appeal Judgement

Thank you all for your ongoing support - it means so much to us. 

Last week we spent two full days in the Court of Appeal so we have completed our latest attempt to put a stop to the 7 skyscraper…

Read more

No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth are going to the Court of Appeal, and we need your help! 

No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal to continue their legal challenge against the Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) over plans for a controversial and destructive gas storage project under Larne Lough. 

Background  

No Gas Caverns campaign group in Islandmagee and Friends of the Earth are continuing to campaign to protect Northern Ireland from unnecessary new fossil fuel infrastructure that will impact on our natural environment, wildlife and trap us into long term reliance on fossil fuels.  

You might remember that we took the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to court earlier this year in relation to the decision to allow 7 enormous gas caverns (each the size of a skyscraper) under the seabed in Larne Lough. The decision to grant consent has implications for the whole of Northern Ireland, not only in terms of environmental impact, but is contrary to UK Government commitments to phase out the use of natural gas.   

In August 2023 the Judge dismissed our claim, which allows this climate and nature wrecking project to go ahead. Not deterred by this decision, Friends of the Earth and No Gas Caverns are bringing this case back to court.  

We need your support to fight this decision. The papers have been lodged with the Court of Appeal and we are working hard behind the scenes with our legal teams preparing for the Appeal to be heard. With your help we can fight to make sure the protection of our natural environment is put first. 

The Appeal 

There are principal grounds of challenge on appeal, namely: 

  1. The failure to refer the applications to the Executive Committee (Ground 1); and  

  2. The taking into account of an irrelevant consideration, namely the community fund (Ground 2) 

To read more about our grounds of appeal, visit our press briefing here

With your support No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth can together continue the campaign to protect our beautiful coastline, its communities and wildlife. The costs to go back to court are significant. Cases like these take months of work from our legal teams and campaigners, and are only possible through the generous support of people like you.


Why should you support this important challenge?

This facility will not provide an immediate answer to the energy crisis, as it will take up to 12 years to be fully operational. During its operational phase, these caverns will be one of Northern Ireland’s largest energy users.   

The discharge from the mining process to create the caverns will be pumped out into the sea surrounding Islandmagee and will create a 'dead zone' where no marine life can survive.  

And this is in an area where eleven Northern Ireland Priority Species (protected under legislation) are found within 100 metres of the polluting waste discharge point. In addition, there will be negative impacts on sensitive species for several kilometres because of increased salinity. The impact on wildlife will be catastrophic. 

Waste will also continue to be dumped periodically for cavern maintenance during its 40-year life expectancy.    

This Court of Appeal court case will send strong signals to government and fossil fuel companies that we do not give up and this campaign to stop them is far from over! 

Thank you so much for your support  

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Update 2

No Gas Caverns

Feb. 12, 2024

Waiting for the gas caverns Court of Appeal Judgement

Thank you all for your ongoing support - it means so much to us. 

Last week we spent two full days in the Court of Appeal so we have completed our latest attempt to put a stop to the 7 skyscraper gas caverns underneath the seabed in Larne Lough.

This appeal is an important constitutional case that will determine environmental decisions being made going forward, not just for Islandmagee but for the whole of Northern Ireland.

But now we wait, and we anticipate the judgement being ready within the coming months, this will be scrutinized by our legal teams and we will let you know as soon as we can.

We are so thankful for the donations and messages of support we have received.

No Gas Caverns group and Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland. 

Update 1

No Gas Caverns

Feb. 1, 2024

We are going to the Court of Appeal next week!

Thank you so much for your continued support for our legal case to stop the 7 sky scraper sized gas caverns proposed for underneath Larne Lough  - an area with multiple environmental designations.

We are continuing to campaign to protect Northern Ireland from unnecessary new fossil fuel infrastructure that will impact on our natural environment, wildlife and trap us into long term reliance on fossil fuels.

We have been working hard behind the scenes getting ready for the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 6 February and we are expecting to be in court for two days. 

We are continuing to fundraise as much as we can to help cover these legal costs. Over 100 of us met in early January with Friends of the Earth on what was a beautiful sunny, but bitterly cold day, on Brown's Bay Beach.


As you know, this legal case is to challenge the plans to construct 7 large gas storage caverns underneath Larne Lough and our move back to court follows the High Court ruling last August that ruled the project was lawful.

No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth maintain that the former Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs [DAERA] minister, Edwin Poots, acted unlawfully in authorising the construction of the massive fossil fuel gas development.

There are two principal grounds of appeal:

The failure to refer the applications to the Executive Committee [1].

The taking into account of an irrelevant consideration, namely the community fund [2].

We very much appreciated your kind donation towards our legal fees via our Crowd Justice pages your support has meant we can continue with our legal action. Thank you. 

More information on the grounds for appeal:

1. Ground 1 of appeal

The Ministerial Code requires that matters that are ‘cross-cutting’, ‘significant’ or ‘controversial’ must be referred to the Executive Committee. Additionally, the Northern Ireland Act requires ministers to act in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

We argue that this gas caverns project is ‘cross-cutting’, ‘significant’ and ‘controversial’ and therefore was required to be referred to the Executive committee. Consequently, we believe that the failure by the Minister for DAERA to refer this project to the Executive committee and instead approve the project himself was unlawful.

2. Ground 2 of appeal

The provision of a community fund has been referred to as a mitigation measure in the EIA determination under the heading ‘social and economic’, but it is entirely unclear what negative social or economic impact this fund is designed to mitigate. Furthermore, the fund is not secured through a condition and there is no mechanism to require the licensee to set up the fund.

As a result, we say that the community fund is an irrelevant consideration which can be given no weight. We argue that it is clear, however, that the Department took the provision of the community fund into account, as it is referenced as a ‘compensatory measure’ in the EIA determination. Thus, we believe that the decision to grant the Licence was therefore based on an irrelevant consideration and unlawful.

We know there are lots of demands on funds right now but if you could:

* Post the link on your social media or email friends asking them to pledge and/or

* consider another pledge if at all possible, that would be very much appreciated 

Thank you very much

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