Campaigners here hail Britain’s scrapping of ‘biggest and ugliest’ pylons

Anti-pylon protesters have claimed their stance has been vindicated by the UK National Grid’s decision to spend £500m (€628m) on scrapping Britain’s “biggest and ugliest” pylons and burying the electricity cables underground.

The National Grid has 571km of pylon lines running through national parks and areas of outstanding beauty in England and Wales, and has identified 25km of cables in eight areas that will see their pylons scrapped.

The areas in question were deemed to have the “biggest and ugliest” pylons in England and Wales, according to a National Grid consultant.

David O’Brien of the Grid Link Action Group, which is campaigning for modifications to EirGrid’s Munster to Leinster Grid Link route, said the Government should ensure EirGrid’s proposed route is kept underground.

“Obviously our concerns are multifaceted, but the real issue has been the environmental impact and the potential impact on tourism in all of the areas from Kildare down into Waterford and across Cork.

“It goes across some very scenic areas. We have an opportunity in Ireland to try and get it right, this time around. There is a caveat that needs to be put on all of this; are the pylons actually even needed? The recent ESB submission on the energy policy has thrown into doubt the scale of Eirgrid’s proposals,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the group has also criticised Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s decision to use his power of veto to force Kildare County Council to remove a proposal that would have seen the county development plan enforce minimum separation distances for electricity pylons from Kildare homes. Last month Kildare county councillors voted for a minimum separation that would be based on the magnetic field strength of the pylon.

“The minister is riding roughshod over Kildare residents’ health,” Kieran Connor of Grid Link Action said.


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