The construction of gas treatment facilities planned for the North will proceed only with the approval of the Sharon-Carmel Association of Towns for Environmental Protection, the National Council for Planning and Building determined at a recent hearing, according to the association.

“I am proud of our team, whose professionalism and perseverance led to the decision that will ultimately lead to the preservation of the environment and quality of life of the residents,” said Nir Sahar, association director-general.

Plans for establishing two new gas-reception terminals, TAMA-37-H, have long been under dispute among national planning bodies, as well as by environmentalists and residents in the North. While all the parties have tended to agree about the need for additional terminals – the country currently has only one – planners and green groups have been at odds as to where and how they should be situated.

The firm Lerman Architects and Town Planners was tasked by the government with developing two landbased terminals along the country’s northern coast, ultimately favoring locations at the Meretz sewage treatment facility site in Emek Hefer, and at Hagit, near Yokne’am. Environmentalists and local residents, on the other hand, have been pushing for offshore options.

Most recently, in mid-February, the Central District Committee for Planning and Building recommended that the national council reject current plans for the two onshore facilities.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Sharon-Carmel Association of Towns for Environmental Protection said that officials on the national council last week determined that the establishment of the facilities would be contingent upon approval by the environmental group. In order for construction to move forward, the association will have to give its nod to the facilities, the pipelines leading to them, and the environmental assessments of the program, the spokesman explained.

“This decision testifies to the professionalism and role of the association as a leader in environmental protection,” said association chairman Ori Disatnik, who also heads the Binyamina- Givat Ada municipality. “Our job is to protect the quality of life of residents, and we will continue to fight for the right of the region’s residents to live in a quality environment protected for the future.”

By press time, the Interior Ministry spokeswoman said she could not verify that the national council had reached a decision on the matter.

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