Planning granted for overhead power line


EIRGRID HAS been granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for a €20 million overhead power line in Co Cork which, it says, is essential to provide security of electricity supply and assist in the exporting of renewable energy.

An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the 110kv line, which will run for 40km from a substation at Clashavoon, 10km northeast of Macroom in mid-Cork, to another substation on the outskirts of Dunmanway in west Cork.

The line will run at a height of approximately 21m above ground. It will be supported by a total of 227 structures, of which 198 will be double woodpole structures, nine will be braced woodpole structures and 20 will be steel tower structures.

The decision to grant planning permission followed a four-day hearing in Macroom last month, during which a number of local communities under the Community Before Pylons umbrella outlined their objections to the decision.

John Dolan of Community Before Pylons said the project was a blot on the rolling countryside of the Lee and Bandon river valleys. It was first proposed five years ago at a time of boom, he said, but there was no longer a demand or need for the cable.

Community Before Pylons called for the line to be put underground, but Eirgrid technical specialist Aidan Geoghegan told the hearing that this would cost €14.3 million more than the proposed €20 million overhead option.

Eirgrid Transmission Projects manager Brian Mullins said the line was necessary as a back-up to two existing 110kv lines to secure a supply to the region. It would also enable the region to utilise its rich renewable energy resources.

James Kiernan of Community Before Pylons countered that it was the local communities who would have to live with the consequences of the line and they believed Eirgrid had relied on outdated estimates of demand to create “a costly and redundant back-up to a back-up”.

However An Bord Pleanála has ruled in favour of Eirgrid, granting planning permission for the project under the Strategic Infrastructure Development Planning and Development Acts with just one alteration being made to the original planning application in respect of one section of the route.

An Bord Pleanála representatives said it was satisfied the proposal would not be likely to have any significant effect on the Gearagh nature reserve near Macroom and the Bandon river nearer to Dunmanway, both of which enjoy Special Area of Conservation status.