Opponents of a north/south electricity interconnector which would see 300 pylons 15m high being built across counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan are likely to seek a judicial review of the planning decision.
Yesterday, Bórd Pleanála gave the controversial 140km project the green light.
A decision still hasn’t been made in the North on the application to build the 400,000 volt network on either side of the border. North of the border, the interconnector will run through counties Armagh and Tyrone.
The North East Pylon Pressure Campaign said a judicial review is also likely in the North if the project is sanctioned.
Eirgrid chief executive Fintan Slye warmly welcomed the ABP decision saying “the interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today”.
“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,” he said.
Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot also welcomed the decision saying there is “a constant risk of outages” in this country due to reliance on one interconnection. “This poses significant risks to businesses that depend on a secure electricity supply. This scenario is unacceptable in a developed economy,” he said.
The North East Pylon Pressure Campaign is arguing the undergrounding of the 400,000 volt project has never been properly examined by EirGrid, Bord Pleanála or the Government.
“Eirgrid to this day has refused to carry out the relevant analysis and costing of a site-specific underground HVDC cable solution along public roads. This option would eliminate all public concerns related to health, landscape and farming,” said Pádraig O’Reilly.
“From a political perspective, we are demanding that there’s a shift to underground. We believe that there’s a larger number of politicians now in the Dáil who are in favour of undergrounding and we believe Minister Denis Naughten could order that .”
In 2009, EirGrid submitted a planning application for the North-South Interconnector Project. Seven weeks into the Bord Pleanála oral hearing, it withdrew the application and resubmitted it in June 2015. An oral hearing was held from March to May this year.
The southern end of the project will run from Woodland, Co Meath to Clontibret in Co Monaghan. The northern planning application is expected to be ruled on next year. There will be 409 pylons in total on both sides of the border. Up to 250 farmers and landowners between Dunboyne and Carrickmacross are against the projects, says the campaign.
Eirgrid is offering grants of €5,000 to €30,000 for community projects for towns and villages along the route.
However, the campaign said it found the project would wipe €350m off the value of homes, land and other properties along the line.
Bord Pleanála inspector Breda Gannon approved planning permission for 299 pylons but set out nine conditions for the planning.
The inspector also noted the findings of the Health Service Executive that there should be no concern about the electromagnetic fields surrounding the pylons as long as the interconnector is properly monitored and operated in line with international standards.
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