Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today (Monday) said that up to 800 submissions have been received in objection to the North South Interconnector, which proposes to erect over 400 pylons and overhead transmission lines across in counties Meath, Monaghan and Cavan.
The Ratoath based TD said “today we saw the conclusion of a 10 week public consultation for the planning application for the North South Interconnector. A total of over 400 pylons are proposed to be erected across three counties, of which 162 are to be located in Meath.
“Today, I wrote to An Bord Pleanal to record my strong objection to this planning application. The foundation of my objection was not that I am against the concept or the development of the NS Interconnector; however, I am strongly and completely against the way in which the applicant, EirGrid Plc, proposes to develop this much needed infrastructure.
“At the Oireachtas Communications Committee the EirGrid Chief Executive Fintan Slye stated that the undergrounding of the North-South interconnector was "technically feasible”, but there was no option for the undergrounding of cables in their planning application which was subsequently made to An Bord Pleanala.
“Many of the concerns which are held by residents of Meath, and further afield, such as health, tourism and heritage, could be greatly diminished should EirGrid Plc agree to undergrounding all, if not some, of the North South Interconnector.
“The reason provided by EirGrid for the lack of undergrounding of cables is that of financial feasibility; however, as I pointed out in my submission, Meath residents have never been provided with a thorough analysis or costing which would be associated with undergrounding. Without the full picture containing the facts and figures, surely it is not possible for the public, let alone An Bord Pleanala, to make an informed decision on this planning application.
“I do not blame the people of Meath for their lack of faith in EirGrid to meaningfully consider the option of undergrounding all or part of the North South Interconnector, for their track record in this regard is far from comforting. EirGrid previously and repeatedly stated that an underground cable was not economically or practically possible for the proposed 100km line running from North Mayo to Co. Roscommon.
“The applicant subsequently conceded that it had ruled out undergrounding of this cable without giving it due consideration as a viable alternative, hence, there is concern that due consideration, again, is not being given to the undergrounding of the North South Interconnector.
The Meath Deputy concluded “we continue to have to defend our rural communities, agriculture, beautiful landscapes and heritage here in Meath. No doubt our rural champions have shown for our county yet again given the vast number of submissions made to An Bord Pleanala. It will be an anxious wait for many families and business over the coming months, but one thing is for sure, we are not known to give up easy!”