Anti-pylon campaigners dismayed at terms of reference for EirGrid review

Rethinkpylons.org suggests converting Moneypoint power station to biomass-based electricity production

Thu, May 8, 2014, 19:50

Campaigners against EirGrid’s plans for overhead cabelling on pylons in the south and south-east, and in the north-west, reacted with dismay today to the publication of the terms of reference of the Independent Experts Panel examining the projects.

“Why has it taken four months [from the announcement of the creation of the panel] to publish the terms of reference, and now just a few weeks before local elections,” asked Paddy Massey, a spokesman for rethinkpylons.org, which seeks to co-ordinate opposition to the projects from a base in the south and south-east.

There are three EirGrid projects in all: Grid Link (the south and south-east) , Grid West (the north-west) and the North-South Interconnector. Following intense local opposition to 60 meter tall pylons carrying high voltage cables, the Goverment set up the review panel comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Catherine McGuinness in the chair, with Professor Keith Bell of the University of Strathclyde, Professor John FitzGerald of the ESRI, Dr Karen Foley, head of the school of landscape architecture at UCD, and economist Colm McCarthy.

In terms of refernce published on Tuesday, the panel said it would examine the projects under three broad headings: technical, economic and environmental. However, three considerations have been placed outside the remit of the panel - “the case for the actual provision of the North South transmission line, the Grid Link or the Grid West projects; Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) issues; and Broader energy policy issues”.

“Health is a major issue in many communities,” said Mr Massey. “And unless the panel is going to look at the Renewable Energy Action Plan, how Ireland is going to meet its renewable energy targets set by the EU, it is not addressing the driver of the whole EirGrid project.”

rethinkpylons.org has advanced an alternative suggestion, that of converting Moneypoint power station to biomass-based electricity production, as a means of meeting the target.

The full terms of reference can be found here.

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