North-South Interconnector planning approval quashed in Northern Ireland

February 9, 2019

Golden opportunity for Government to adopt a policy of undergrounding  if they want this ‘critical infrastructure’ ever to be established.

The approval for the North-South Interconnector in Northern Ireland was quashed today at Belfast High Court, at the behest of the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. The outcome represents a victory for the Safe Electricity for Armagh and Tyrone (SEAT) campaign group who represent up to 6,000 people who own land or live along the proposed route of the pylons and lines.

The Eirgrid spin was immediate. ‘Its no big deal. It has no impact on their plans to proceed in the Republic’. They are hopeful that the NI planning application can be ‘re-determined without delay’.

The arrogance of Eirgrid knows no bounds. The waste of taxpayers’ monies knows no bounds. The planning application was first submitted over 10 years ago. It was littered with errors and mistakes. It has hobbled along since 2009, being saved by the momentum of establishment believing the PR claims that the lights will go out in Northern Ireland if the project is not approved at all costs.

The world has changed a lot in the last 10 years and some of the key arguments made for the overhead line have since been proven to be bogus in nature:

  • The ‘lights will go out in Northern Ireland’ Not true. Eirgrid’s latest 10 year forecast report states that there will be a surplus for the next 10 years at least, even in a highest demand scenario and even with the predicted closure of some generating stations.
  • The cost of undergrounding is at least 3 times more expensive (€500M). Not true. Eirgrid’s latest figures from their own ten year report highlight €500M for the overhead line.

Any resubmission is now likely to be post Brexit. This project enjoys priority status as an EU project between 2 EU countries. This will no longer be the case if any resubmission is made and it will have to be reclassified.

Eirgrid is saying that it will carry on regardless in the Republic, even without a planning application in NI. This is reckless behaviour. How dare they spend our money without accountability. We have seen enough unaccountability with the Children’s hospital debacle.

NEPPC requests yet again that this Government take accountability for doing its job. Demand a stop to ALL activities and further wasting of monies by Eirgrid until there is clarity on NI. Stop stating that this is ‘critical infrastructure’ and then refuse to admit that it can only succeed as an underground project. There is a golden opportunity now to make a fresh start. The project will be supported 100% by the public when an underground policy is adopted. Otherwise this critical infrastructure will remain in critical condition for many years to come.

 

ENDS

Padraig O’Reilly, NEPPC 087 233 4

Filed under: News & Events,Press Releases 2019


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

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