On the 10th December 2015, plans to bring gas to 13 towns in East Down moved a step closer with the publication of a notice by the Utility Regulator approving a pipeline extension to the existing network operated by Phoenix Natural Gas Limited.
The formal notice is published by the Utility Regulator, under Article 8(6) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 as amended, and relates to a gas extension to the licensed area of Phoenix Natural Gas Limited.
This notice approves the extension to East Down and the associated 13 towns, which allows for the construction of the pipeline infrastructure necessary to facilitate the conveyance of gas to domestic and commercial properties in the vicinity of those towns.
Commenting on the extension, Jenny Pyper Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator said:
“Phoenix Natural Gas Limited’s extension of the gas network to East Down brings the prospect of natural gas a step closer for 13 new towns and around 27,000 domestic and business properties. Natural gas provides an affordable, cleaner and convenient form of energy.
“Following the announcement earlier this year of the gas network extending to the west of Northern Ireland, this is a further vote of confidence in the natural gas industry. With an expected capital expenditure of over £58 million, it is also a welcome investment in our energy infrastructure and should drive and support development in the East Down area.
“Our decision to grant the extension of Phoenix Natural Gas’ licence to cover the East Down area is in line with our statutory duty to ensure the economic, efficient and co-ordinated development of the gas industry in Northern Ireland.”
The publication of the notice follows a period of public consultation on the proposed extension, during which time two responses were received and can be viewed below:
Each response has been carefully considered in the approval of the extension to East Down and the associated 13 towns, which are Annahilt, Ballygowan, Ballynahinch, Castlewellan, Crossgar, Downpatrick, Dromore, Drumaness, Dundrum, Hillsborough, Newcastle, Saintfield and Spa.