EirGrid planning resubmission a futile exercise which will ultimately fail

June 9, 2015

Media Release from North East Pylon Pressure campaign (NEPPC)

09 June 2015 EirGrid planning resubmission a futile exercise which will ultimately fail

Word Doc: EirGrid planning resubmission a futile exercise

Supporting Docs:

Briefing document ‘discrimination’ PR 06October 2014

EU Commission complaint by NEPPC 15 November 2014

EirGrid today has submitted to An Bord Pleanála (ABP), for the second time around, a planning application for the North-South electricity interconnector, involving the erection of over 400 giant pylons and 400,000 volt overhead lines across the communities and landscape of Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh and Tyrone. The definition of madness is to repeat the same actions but expect a different result. The decision by EirGrid to submit a similar planning application to the one it withdrew exactly 5 years ago (June 2010) is a classic example of arrogance, discrimination, lack of accountability and a contempt for genuine public concerns. NEPPC wishes to highlight the following points of relevance: • Communities across the North-East have voiced their full support for this project if it is to be constructed using modern underground cable technology systems. EirGrid has conceded that undergrounding is now feasible, reliable and with dramatically reduced costs than it had originally claimed. Yet it persists in refusing to even examine a site-specific underground route option and instead has routed the overhead lines and pylons across the most densely populated areas of the affected counties. This is arrogance personified and will result in nothing but confrontation, conflict and ultimately failure.

• The communities across the North-East are being blatantly discriminated against by Eirgrid and by the Government. The undergrounding analysis currently underway for Grid West and Grid Link has never been afforded to the North South Interconnector Project (see attached briefing document). In January 2014 the DCENR announced the establishment of an Independent Expert Panel to oversee the analysis of specific undergrounding options for Grid West and Grid Link projects. But the North-South Interconnector Project was purposely excluded. The exclusion is an illogical and unjust decision that completely undermines the value and the credibility of the review process. It is deeply unfair and discriminatory to the affected communities across the North-East.

• In true teflon style EirGrid has sailed, unscathed and unrepentant, through a whole raft of inconsistent, unprofessional and incompetent actions and decisions that are heaping ongoing stress on local communities and have resulted in significant waste of taxpayers’ monies. The withdrawal of the original planning application 5 years ago, by Eirgrid’s own admission, is costing €30-€50million per year to the electricity consumer. EirGrid has not been held to account by the current Government for any of these costs. Furthermore, the failure by EirGrid in the 2010 application to even bother checking with local authorities what dwellings along the interconnector route had been erected or had received planning approval in the previous 4 years’, is professionally unacceptable. • EirGrid has ignored the landowners and general community concerns since project inception. It is clear from the minutes of meetings with An Bord Pleanála (ABP) that EirGrid decided on an overhead lines and pylons route PRIOR to engaging with affected landowners and communities. Hence, all activities in this regard have been propaganda dressed up as consultation. The unquestioning acceptance by ABP of this so-called consultation approach raises serious questions as to its impartiality. Eirgrid has changed nothing of any material relevance since 2007, when the project was first announced. This disdain for public concerns will be its downfall on this project. EirGrid has paid lipservice to the public’s concerns. In a sworn affidavit to the High Court, dated 19th May 2008, EirGrid’s Project Manager, Mr Tomás Mahony, stated: ‘It is recognised by the Respondent that such infrastructure cannot be put in place without the general acceptance of the people of the North East…’   NEPPC agrees with Mr Mahony’s assessment.   There can be no pylons without the people’s agreement.   And the people will never give their agreement.

• NEPPC has made a formal complaint to the EU Commission  in November 2014 (attached) concerning EirGrid’s actions and potential conflict of interest by ABP.

• NEPPC wishes to record its deep dissatisfaction with the Government and in particular our elected representatives in the North-East. It is clear that the case for the North-South interconnector has not been adequately represented and that our elected representatives have been towing the party line rather than addressing the genuine concerns of their constituents. Community concerns run deep on this project and the ineffectiveness and abysmal lack of representation will not be forgotten in the next 12 months. At a recent NEPPC public meeting of 450 people not one of the Government TD’s even bothered attending. The Strategic Infrastructure planning process, by law, gives a role to local authorities to make their own comprehensive submissions to the Board.   NEPPC calls on the county councils of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath to make submissions expressing their democratically-based opposition to pylons and in favour of the underground alternative. In addition, any group specifically impacted negatively by EirGrid’s proposal is entitled to make a submission. This category includes farming organisations such as the IFA and ICMSA whose members are the most negatively affected, tourism bodies, GAA clubs and county boards, schools, heritage groups, environmental groups and individual citizens.   NEPPC calls on all affected groups to study how EirGrid’s application affects them and to make submissions in response. ‘The planning resubmission is not the end of our campaign.  It is just the beginning of a new phase.   In the end, EirGrid must be made accountable to the democratic process, stated Aimée Treacy, chairperson of NEPPC. The NEPPC campaign was formed in October 2007 and represents more than 45,000 people in counties Monaghan, Meath and Cavan who favour underground cables as an alternative to pylons and overhead lines.  The group is in favour of reinforcing the electricity grid, but using the modern and more advanced technology of underground cable systems.

- Ends – Further information: NEPPC 087 – 680 36 66   www.nepp.ie

Filed under: Briefing Docs,Press Releases 2015

NEPP on Facebook

About NEPP

NEPP is the overall representative group for the people of Ireland's North East who advocate that high power electric cables should go underground.

Register for Cycling Challenge


Sign the Petition

Press Releases


PayPal donations are for small amounts only. Please lodge larger amounts directly to our AIB Bank Acc.

Recent Posts

Archived Sections