Dáil Éireann - Volume 674 - 10 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Energy Resources.
Deputy Jack Wall Deputy Jack Wall
Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he has met with a group (details supplied); the outcome of that meeting; if he has not met this group, if he will meet with them and when; the position on underground and over ground lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4542/09]
Deputy Eamon Ryan Deputy Eamon Ryan
Deputy Eamon Ryan: While I have no direct role in the planning and construction of transmission system infrastructure, the Government’s overriding policy objective is to ensure that energy is consistently available at competitive prices with minimal risk of supply disruption to meet the needs of businesses and domestic consumers. It is EirGrid’s role, as the transmission system operator, to develop and upgrade the transmission system in order to meet ongoing and future electricity needs.
The two 400 kV transmission line projects from Meath to Cavan and Cavan to Tyrone are vitally important to the North East region for security of supply, regional and national economic development and the integration of renewable electricity on to the Grid. I am aware of concern in local communities about the impact of overhead lines, and I was happy to be able to facilitate a meeting with North East Pylon Pressure, which was attended by EirGrid. The meeting was held on 16 January and all parties engaged in an active and constructive discussion  on practical issues relating to the projects and ongoing consultations. The meeting resulted in a series of agreed action points, including an intensification of the engagement between EirGrid and North East Pylon Pressure on the issues of concern.
As regards the issue of underground cables and overhead lines, EirGrid has undertaken to publish a detailed report, which it has commissioned jointly with Northern Ireland Electricity, in relation to undergrounding for the Meath Cavan and Cavan Tyrone projects. While the independent Ecofys Study provided a generic analysis of underground/overhead transmission infrastructure issues, this report will provide a detailed, site specific analysis of undergrounding issues relating to the entire route for both projects. The report, which has been prepared over a long timescale, will form part of the documentation that will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála as part of EirGrid’s planning application for the two projects. The report will be published in the coming weeks and a period of consultation by EirGrid on its findings will follow.
I understand that EirGrid has also agreed to facilitate a meeting between North East Pylon Pressure’s consultants (Askon) and EirGrid’s own technical experts, and will fund the costs of Askon attending the meeting. I would hope that this level of engagement between EirGrid and North East Pylon Pressure will assist greatly in resolving issues of concern and moving the projects forward.
EirGrid have stressed that consultations will continue with stakeholders over the coming months, until such time as planning consent application is submitted to An Bord Pleanála, which is the Statutory Planning Authority in relation to strategic infrastructure projects.
Dáil Éireann 674 Written Answers. Energy Resources.