Residents fear pylons will ‘completely change the landscape’

Residents in a north-east Cork village have expressed concern that the proposed €500m overhead powerline from Cork to Wexford will damage their community.

Electricity transmission operator Eirgrid’s Grid Link Project will see a string of pylons linking new 400V powerlines from Knockraha in Co Cork to Great Island, Co Wexford and on to Dunstown in Co Kildare.

According to Eirgrid, this upgrade “will ensure a reliable and high-quality electricity supply for homes, farms and businesses into the future”.

However, the community association in Knockraha, near Glanmire, has said the pylons will “completely change the landscape of the local area”.

Residents voiced fears the project could have a detrimental effect on numbers at a local primary school and at an adjacent creche as they are just 1,500 metres from an ESB substation which is to be extended.

“The overhead lines will put the school population at risk of over-exposure to electromagnetic fields and further noise pollution than already exists.

“It is widely published that health agencies have recognised a statistical association between estimated higher long-term exposure to magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia,” said association spokesperson, Noelle Murphy.

Despite Eirgrid and the ESB holding an open day for locals last week, the association said they were given scant details about “the physical facts of the proposal or how local concerns are going to be dealt with”. The association also warned the extended substation and new powerlines “will hang over the village like an umbrella” and would “only have a negative impact on the locality and population”.

They will hold a public meeting on the matter next Wednesday night.

However, an Eirgrid spokesman said the sub-station extension will not be of the scale feared by the community.

“These works at the existing station are part of the ongoing operation of the national grid and will involve a small extension to the station. The Knockraha station site is approximately 21.10 acres in area and the station extension is expected to be approximately 2.82 acres,” a spokesman said.

She added that the new powerline “will not expose anyone to any higher levels of EMF than what we experience in our current day-to-day lives”.

A planning application for the extension is to be submitted to Cork County Council shortly.

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