Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence


Memorandum by Melissa Lindsay

  I am an LNG analyst and journalist. In listening to your committee session on Tuesday 13 July, specifically:


  Witnesses:(i)   Exxon Mobil

  I would like the opportunity to submit evidence. I am concerned that the witnesses were economical with the truth and elected to "spare you the detail" on more than one occasion. I have attached a copy of published analysis I wrote on Exxon's South Hook LNG project and the implications of LNG on UK's future balance, within the publication you should also find an article I wrote outlining all the planning problems endured by the Milford Haven projects. [105]Having scrutinised the project in depth and consulted with all parties involved, including Exxonmobil, South Hook LNG, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park Authority Safe Haven, the solicitor representing Safe Haven, LNG consultants, the local port authority, EU Commission, the DTI and National Grid.

  I believe the LNG projects at Milford Haven have highlighted severe deficits in the UK planning system. There appears to be no authoritative body to ensure and uphold European Community law and the planning was pushed through in a piecemeal fashion. This meant affected third parties were denied the right to intervene and express concerns in earlier stages. I am not sure if you are aware but the EU Commission has received a formal complaint on the shortcomings of the planning procedure related to the Milford Haven projects. It is the UK government that may now ultimately be held accountable for the possible failure of the companies and authorities involved to comply with EU Community Law. Specifically, in accordance with the European Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, all direct and indirect effects of a project should be included in its Environmental Impact Assessment, the pipeline was not included in that of the projects. Exxonmobil argue the pipeline is a different project to the terminal, however given the two are inextricably linked a source at the EU Commission suggested otherwise.

  There were six consents granted in total by Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park Authority (PCNPA) and Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) prior to construction. Each terminal was required by law to obtain planning permission and hazardous substances consent. In addition, late last year South Hook LNG applied for a section 73 variation to its existing planning permission. In law this allows the planning authority (in this case PCNPA) to consider the whole application again. This permits the National Assembly to call in the decision and consider its main concerns, the Welsh Assembly are currently considering this application.

  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you further in your inquiry.

14 June 2006

105   Attachments not printed. Back

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