Anti-pylon groups to object to ESB plans

 

Anti-pylon groups in the north-west are to oppose the ESB's plans to reinforce its high-voltage electricity infrastructure. A planning application was lodged with Sligo County Council by the ESB yesterday.

Permission is being sought to run a 40-mile 220kV line from the existing 220kV station at Flagford in Co Roscommon to a new 220/110kV substation near Srananagh in east Sligo, along with associated 110kV developments.

Opposition groups from Riverstown, Ballymote and Sooey want the ESB to put the cable underground, instead of using the proposed 30-metre pylons. They plan to lodge objections concerning community fears about health and the environment as well as the effects of the planned new power line on tourism and property valuations.

A spokesman for the action group's central committee welcomed the ESB's plan to improve the supply of electricity to the region. However, the committee is concerned property values in the immediate vicinity of the line could slump by as much as 50 per cent, exceeding more than £100 million, while the cost of laying an underground line would be an estimated £34 million.

The ESB has produced a briefing document in an attempt to counter objections and address communities' fears. This says: "It is essential that the north-west has an electricity system which will meet the necessary standards that modern industries and processes demand and that this infrastructure will allow for the expansion of existing industry and the development of new industries for the area."

The ESB is satisfied, according to the briefing document, that "based on current re search", there is no proven link between power lines and adverse health effects. "This is also the opinion of independent and authoritative bodies, including the World Health Organisation."