13 May 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Michael Fisher

A High Court judge in Dublin is due to rule today (Thursday) on whether anti-pylon protestors can proceed with a legal case over EirGrid’s planning application for the North/South interconnector. An oral hearing in Carrickmacross conducted by two inspectors from An Bord Pleanála is now in its tenth week and is entering the final stage.

The North East Pylon Pressure Campaign representing over 180 landowners in Counties Meath and Cavan is seeking a judicial review over the validity of the application submitted by EirGrid in June 2015. The company applied for permission to build 299 pylons crossing three counties under Strategic Infrastructure Development legislation. The NEPPC claimed the application was invalid because of difficulties with the application’s environmental impact and natura impact statements.

They also argued that EirGrid was not the actual applicant and the application did not comply with planning and development legislation. Lawyers for An Bord Pleanála and EirGrid opposed the application for leave to bring the case on a number of grounds including the delay in bringing it.

The oral hearing at the Nuremore Hotel enters day thirty-three today, the tenth week of the proceedings. The hearing is due to spend the next two days dealing with topics not previously advised by parties and to hear again from Monaghan County Council on the question of access routes for pylon construction.

The two inspectors will not sit next week. Depending on the outcome of the court case, they are due to resume on Monday 23rd May for closing submissions from the main observers, NEPPC and the Co. Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee, the three planning authorities in Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, followed by the prescribed bodies and finally they will hear from the applicant, EirGrid.

At yesterday’s sitting the company confirmed changes to two more proposed access routes for pylon construction. These had been made following observations made by landowners at the hearing. EirGrid has also responded to claims that there had been little or no consultation with the landowners and residents living along the proposed route.

Project Manager Shane Brennan said 450 landowners would be directly impacted by the 299 towers and 100km of overhead lines. Searches had been made in the property registry on six different occasions between August 2009 and May 2015. Members of the project team had also visited landowners on three occasions since 2009.

He said a series of seven letters had been sent out by certified post since 2011 and many included inserts such as maps and brochures. Despite their extensive efforts to communicate with landowners, many had chosen not to do so or had nominated a third party such as the CMAPC to act on their behalf. The anti-pylon committee will dispute this explanation of the …


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