The SGN / Mutual Energy Gas to the West Project costing some £250 million is a nationally strategic development which will extend the high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) gas network in Northern Ireland. RPS was appointed in 2015 to provide planning, environmental and engineering services for the development, including delivery of the environmental impact assessment (and appropriate assessment) and coordination of extensive pipeline ground investigations.
RPS has also input significantly to the route selection process through environmental baseline surveys to ensure that the decision process for the final alignments of the proposed pipeline routes made due consideration for the environment. This ensured that the least environmentally constrained route was selected.
The HP network will involve the installation of approximately 80km of high pressure steel gas transmission pipeline. The new IP PE gas pipeline has a design pressure of less than 7 bar and is approximately 100km in length. The project will bring gas to the towns of Enniskillen, Derrylin, Omagh, Strabane, Dungannon, Coalisland, Cookstown and Magherafelt.
The project presents a number of challenging aspects in terms of ground conditions, large scale river and road crossings and environmental sensitivities. Baseline assessments and site investigations have ensured that appropriate construction methodologies, such as trenchless crossings, are being used in areas where avoidance of constraints was not possible.
The RPS planning team was responsible for overseeing all elements of the planning application including stakeholder consultation to new statutory requirement which was submitted in 2016. The Gas to the West Project successfully received Approval of Planning Permission from the Department of Infrastructure’s Strategic Planning Division in March 2017 without recourse to an Oral Hearing.
The stakeholder consultation element of the project was Highly Commended at the British Construction Industry (BCI) Awards in 2017.