400 landowners will be affected as planning granted for North/South Interconnector

Approximately 400 landowners will be affected by the development of the North/South Interconnector, as the southern leg of project was granted planning approval by An Bord Pleanala today.

According to EirGrid, the North/South Interconnector is a vital piece of grid infrastructure which will strengthen the electricity grids both north and south of the border.

This project will see the addition of a new 400kV overhead line connecting the electricity grids of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The line will run through the counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath in the Republic, and Armagh and Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

Map: The path of the Interconnector

Interconnector route through Co. Meath

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Interconnector route through Louth and Monaghan

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Interconnector route through Northern Ireland

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However, despite receiving the green light from An Bord Pleanala, the development of the project depends on the outcome of a Public Inquiry in Northern Ireland, which is scheduled for February 2017.

Fintan Slye, Chief Executive of EirGrid said An Bord Pleanala’s decision represents significant progress for the project.

“The North/South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will help deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial customers.

We believe the North South Interconnector will also provide local benefit for the people of the North East by strengthening the electricity network in the region; a catalyst for inward investment and job creation.

“The project will also increase capacity of the grids North and South, helping to facilitate the connection of more renewable electricity generation.

“This is essential to achieve sustainable energy targets set by the EU,” he said,

Prior to the submission of the planning application, EirGrid says it consulted extensively with local communities and landowners along the route, taking their views and concerns on board.

It also says that several amendments to the proposed route were made as a result of the consultation and it has also encouraged anyone with questions about this decision and the project to make contact or visit one of the regional offices.

Project decision disregards community concerns

IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman, Thomas Cooney has described the decision by An Bord Pleanala to give EirGrid planning permission to construct several hundred pylons across the north-east as a decision which broadly ignores the substantial concerns and wishes of the communities that are being asked to endure this infrastructure.

Communities across Meath, Monaghan and Cavan have made it very clear at every opportunity, including at two oral hearings, that this project should only proceed in a way which caused the least long-term impact and that the line should have been put underground.

“From the beginning, EirGrid did not support the proposal to underground this project and it seems as if they have achieved their desired outcome today.

“However, communities are now left in a position where by and large their concerns have been rejected by An Bord Pleanala,” he said.