CO COUNCIL TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF EIRGRID PLANNING APPLICATION NOT FORCEFUL ENOUGH IN ELECTED MEMBERS’ EYES

16 August 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

The technical assessment of the EirGrid planning application for its controversial north/south interconnector project prepared by the planning section of Monaghan Co Council was accused of lacking force by the local authority’s elected members when it was presented to them at a special meeting yesterday morning.

The report, which was detailed to the meeting by Senior Executive Planner Toirleach Gourley, seemed to disappoint the councillors by not presenting any conclusive determination on the project, or reaching a view that reflected their own long-held opposition to the delivery of the interconnector development by the use of overhead pylons.

Mr Gourley explained that the planners were providing their professional opinion on the various aspects of the planning application, and reminded the members that in this instance the Co Council were not the determining authority on whether the project would receive planning approval, a decision that will be made by An Bord Pleanala following a future oral hearing.

Senior Planner Adrian Hughes also told the members that it was important to remember that the Co Council was not the determining authority – the planning section was not refusing or granting permission but putting in a technical assessment and that was why it was framed in the way it was.

Mr Hughes recalled that there was almost unanimous support in the Council Chamber for the technical report produced in 2010 at the time of the previous EirGrid application. “The current report is not as critical, but this is not unusual because EirGrid have read the previous report word for word and addressed some of the concerns raised in it,” Mr Hughes explained.

He added that the current technical assessment did identify planning policies that the EirGrid application conflicted with, but pointed out that An Bord Pleanala could set these arguments aside if they so determined.

Mr Hughes assured the members that all the comments they were making in the course of yesterday’s meeting were being …

 

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