Emergency evacuation plan call for Islandmagee if Gaelectric plant gets go-ahead

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-36-712-con

An artist's impression of the proposed Gaelectric CAES facility at Islandmagee. Image c/o Gaelectric. INLT-36-712-con

A councillor wants an emergency evacuation plan for Islandmagee if Gaelectric’s plant is approved, amid fears rural roads may not cope.

Gaelectric recently received an €8m cash injection from the European Union last month for the £800m compressed air energy storage (CAES) facility which it has applied to build near Ballylumford.

The scheme would see the creation of underground caverns to store energy in the form of compressed air.

However, DUP Cllr Paul Reid has voiced fears that the current roads infrastructure in Islandmagee would not be able to cope if there was an emergency in the area.

“I would be concerned about the transport and safety of workers and residents should there be an emergency, for example at Ballylumford, “ he told the Times.

“If the Gaelectric plant goes ahead there could be three power stations within a short distance of each other and my concern is would theses minor rural roads cope? I’m not aware of any plans to upgrade them, and as well as emergencies a lot more workers could be using these roads.

“It’s important for the long-term safety of commuters and Islandmagee residents that this is sorted out.”

Cllr Reid also renewed his call for an independent inquiry into the Gaelectric plan, a motion which was previously passed at a council meeting in March.

“Any questions the residents have would be answered and they would have peace of mind,” he concluded.

A Gaelectric spokesman said: “We are not in a position to comment in detail on traffic management in the vicinity of the development and safety matters as the application is with the NI Planning Services. Traffic management and safety are matters which are addressed in the application and its accompanying Environmental Statement.”