Go-ahead for 102-pylon Irish border electricity link

Planning permission has been approved for 102 electricity pylons along a 34 kilometre route forming part of a cross-border electricity inter-connector between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, despite recognition that some of the scheme's environmental effects would be 'significant and adverse'.

Armagh: new electricty link would pass close to city
Armagh: new electricty link would pass close to city

Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure granted full planning consent for the scheme today. The decision was made in line with a recommendation to approve the scheme in a report by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC), following a public inquiry last year.

The project, known as the North South Interconnector, would create a cross-border electricity line with the Republic of Ireland.

The completed line would run through counties Monaghan, Cavan and Meath in Ireland, and Armagh and Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Further sections of the link within the Republic of Ireland have already been approved by regulatory bodies on that side of the border.

According to the Department for Infrastructure, there were over 6,000 letters of objection to the proposal. Seventy-nine letters of support had also been received.

The PAC report identified "significant and adverse" impacts from the scheme in terms of visual impact, visual amenity and landscape character and the settings of scheduled monuments and views from them.

However, the document said that such concerns could be overruled if there was an "overriding national or regional need for the proposed development".

The PAC said that this was the case, making the case for the "significant strategic importance of the development for Northern Ireland at an international, national and regional level".

The report concluded that the PAC was satisfied that the scheme "represents the best achievable balance between environmental impacts, technical requirements and economic limitations".

Developer SONI says it hopes to have the project completed by the end of 2020.

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