Interconnector linking Moy gets full planning permission

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

FULL planning permission for the North/South Interconnector has been granted by the Department for Infrastructure.

Almost a decade since plans were first lodged with the department the move to approve the 400kv electricity line has been met with approval by many businesses across Northern Ireland.

The proposed development will create a cross-border electricity line with the Republic of Ireland helping increase Northern Ireland's security of electricity supply.

The decision, made in the absence of an Executive, will allow for over 34.1kms of overhead line to run from Trewmount Road, Moy to the border with the Republic of Ireland at Doohat or Crossreagh and further section of overhead line extending of 0.3kms across the townland of Crossbane.

It will also see the erection of 102 towers along the 34.1km stretch.

The approval follows a series of challenges and appeal hearings on both sides of the border as those opposed to the project fought to prevent overhead lines on environmental and health grounds.

However, the Department ruled that there was an "urgent and compelling need for the proposed development."

Commenting on the planning decision, Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI, the body responsible for the Interconnector, said working with landowners and the community will remain a priority:

"We very much welcome this positive outcome from the Department for Infrastructure," said Robin.

"The North South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial consumers.

"It has received strong support from businesses and employers because of the positive impact it will have on the economy, and from consumer groups as it will help reduce the cost of electricity.

"While we recognise this project is to the benefit of everyone, we will continue to work to ensure that it is delivered at the least possible impact to the communities and landowners who are hosting it. In the coming months we will hand over the project to NIE Networks who will construct the interconnector, in the meantime we will be on the ground engaging with landowners and the community, ensuring they remain up-to-date on progress and timelines."

The Cheif Executive of the Utility Regulator, Jenny Pyper also welcomed the announcement, stating that its introduction should result in cheaper electricity for the consumer.

""While a significant period of time has elapsed since the original planning application, today's decision represents a double boost for local energy consumers."As a critical piece of energy infrastructure, it will safeguard our long-term security of supply as well as making a positive impact on consumer bills."

Consumers are currently paying around 20 million per annum because [its] absence and the resulting limitations on the flow of electricity," she said.


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