ORAL HEARING ON INTERCONNECTOR TOLD OF POSSIBLE EFFECTS ON TOURISM AND FARMING

1 April 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A planning inspector has been told that EirGrid’s plan to put overhead power lines across part of County Monaghan including lakelands near Ballybay, Castleblayney and Carrickmacross could impact adversely on plans to increase angling tourism.

Dympna Condra, Monaghan County Council tourism officer, told the oral hearing in Carrickmacross into the North/South interconnector the proposed pylons and electricity lines would affect their ability to sell Monaghan as a tourist destination.

Landscape and the natural environment were important elements in attracting visitors to County Monaghan. The promotion of Monaghan as a destination for outdoor activities such as angling, walking, cycling, golf, horse riding and leisure activities in forest parks would be impacted by the proposed development. The tourism officer said angling was an extremely important niche product for Co. Monaghan. Only last week a party of angling journalists from England had visited the Lough Egish area. The Council believed EirGrid’s response that the transmission line was unlikely to prohibit activities continuing at these locations lacked detail as to how this conclusion had been arrived at, she said. Dympna Condra also raised the potential impact on a short section of the Monaghan Way close to the border with Co. Armagh where it runs parallel to and then crosses the power line route.

EirGrid has assessed that walkers would experience open views of towers at close proximity where there is no intervening vegetation, resulting in localized significant visual effects. The tourism officer said this was a particular worry for those walkers choosing to start in Clontibret and it might have a significant impact on the numbers using the route. Toirleach Gourley senior planner Monaghan County Council said there would be knock-on effects for visitors and on the landscapesetting with its many lakes. He expressed fresh concern that two of the photomontages displayed by EirGrid showing the impact on the Monaghan Way at Lemgare Rocks near Clontibret and at Lough Morne near Lough Egish did not show the two most prominent pylons along the route which were both situated on high ground…

OralHearing

Bord Pleanála Inspectors Breda Gannon and Deirdre McGowan at the North/South interconnector oral hearing in Carrickmacross. Pic Pat Byrne

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