INTERCONNECTOR DAY16

This section dealt with material assets: general and traffic

Acting senior engineer with Monaghan County Council John McKernan said EirGrid’s response to submissions last year was too vague on a number of traffic issues. It did not provide any detail in relation to the transport of excess soil from the foundations of the proposed towers to the waste disposal sites. This was particularly in respect of egress from the access routes onto the public road, and the provision of visibility splays at the point of emergence onto the public road.

The response provided merely repeated what had been stated in the original application relating to the use of dumper trucks to deliver concrete to the foundations. He said the company’s response did not provide any detail regarding the off-loading of the concrete from the delivery truck at the public road, and the loading of the dumpers being used to deliver the concrete down the access lanes to the site of the towers.

Mr McKernan said no detail was given regarding the off-loading of the steel framework from the delivery truck at the public road and the loading of the vehicles being used to deliver the steel framework to the sites. EirGrid had still not addressed the key issues regarding the physical capacity of a number of the access routes to accommodate the traffic movements between the public road and the tower sites. He said no realistic measures had been provided to address the issues raised regarding any accommodation works and relating to the control of lands in order to carry out such works.

On the question of how much surplus soil and rock would be generated by excavation at the tower sites and taken away to a licensed waste management site, the ‘worst case scenario’ envisaged by EirGrid was said to be approximately 10,500 cubic metres. Mr McKernan said reasonable figures were required from the company in respect of waste soil generated at each tower location, in order to ascertain the volume of traffic movements generated on the affected public roads.

Regarding the frequency of construction traffic on narrow roads in Monaghan, Mr McKernan said concerns remained that a number of towers would be constructed at the same time in the same area, leading to a significant amount of traffic using the public road. He asked for specific details of the phasing of the construction work in order to allay the Council’s concerns.

Some of the haul routes were quite convoluted. No proposals had been put forward to prevent contractors using public roads that would provide more direct routes for access to towers. EirGrid had proposed to carry out a pre- and post-construction video survey of the road pavements and verges on the haul routes. But this was insufficient in his opinion and a full mechanical machine survey of the public roads involved should be made at least three months in advance of works commencing.

Finally, the use of flag men would not resolve difficulties regarding delivery trucks blocking the public road while parked for off-loading. Nor would it resolve conflicts between large delivery trucks meeting day-to-day traffic traversing the road.

Along with senior planner Toirleach Gourley Mr McKernan continued to interrogate EirGrid about when Monaghan County Council would be provided with specific foundation details for each of the 134 proposed towers in the county and part of Cavan near Kingscourt. EirGrid lawyer Jarlath Fitzsimons SC insisted the relevant information had already been provided in the application and response to submissions. Statements that there was inadequate or no information were without substance, he said. He told the presiding inspector it was not a function of Monaghan County Council to reject the information.

We are looking at new and significant information, Mr Gourley stated. It differed from what had been published in the environmental impact statement. He said he had identified gaps in the EirGrid information. As a result the Council could not examine the impact of construction vehicle movements such as concrete lorries on local roads. The latest information they received conflicted with the information presented on behalf of EirGrid yesterday.

Asked by the inspector about information on traffic movements and towers, consultant engineer Tom Cannon said there had been a robust traffic assessment and the figures provided were an over-estimation of what would be required. He said there would be excavated material during the construction of the proposed development, specifically in relation to the tower foundations. Typically 34 m3 of excess soil would be excavated at each intermediate tower location with approximately 230 m3 of excess soil excavated from angle towers. In the case of three angle 90 degree angle towers the excavations would be deeper, requiring more concrete to be laid and more soil to be removed. It was stated that 96 of the 104 intermediate towers would not require piling. A worst case scenario would be that all excavated material amounting to 10,500m3 for all the towers in Monaghan would be sent off-site to a licenced waste recovery facility. He indicated that there were a number of potential storage sites in Monaghan, including the proposed temporary yard outside Carrickmacross.

But senior planner Toirleach Gourley pointed out that because the licence was coming to an end at one site and another two had been filled with soil from the new factory development on the Monaghan by-pass, the possibilities for disposal were restricted. His estimate was that there was approximately 17,000 m3 of soil to be disposed off as there was an extra 7000 cubic metres intended for the storage yard over and above what was in the environmental assessment.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said EirGrid had used information that was publicly available at the time of the planning application in June last year. It was not possible to use a crystal ball to predict the possible landfill sites when the line came to be constructed. Mr Cannon, he said, had indicated some of the sites that might be available. There was a wide sweep of potential disposal areas provided. Different areas would be required at different times. Mr Gourley, he said, seemed to be arguing for perfection in the environmental impact statement.

Robert Arthur of ESB International repeated the various stages of construction that would be required for the towers and gave details of the timescale involved. John McKernan asked for details of concrete lorries that would be off-loading material on public roads to dumper trucks that would bring the concrete up to the site towers. Some of the roads were very narrow and one proposed point for off-loading was at a crossroads and another at a T-junction. He was informed there were three angle towers where extra deliveries of concrete would be required for the deeper foundation.

In response to further questioning, the EirGrid consultant Tom Cannon advised that where the same access route was being used for two or more towers, the pylons would be constructed one at a time in order to reduce the level of traffic on the public road. He outlined other mitigation measure that would be taken including the use of flagmen at a small number of locations to ensure that traffic was not blocked. He also said there would be one proposed road closure during construction of two towers in the Monaghan area.

Mr McKernan asked EirGrid to put in place a mechanical survey of the state of the local roads that would be used three months before the development started. Mr Cannon advised him that the company intended to do a video of the routes involved both before and after construction, but Mr McKernan said this would not be a suitable way of collecting and assessing the relevant information.

BALLOON FLIGHTS

Malcolm White of Irish Balloon Flights said his company had been providing passenger flights from its base in Co. Meath for sixteen years. He told the hearing about how their business could be affected if the proposed high voltage power line was permitted. Their main concern was for the safety of passengers and crew.

A consultant for EirGrid Damien Grehan said ballooning was taking place in a landscape that included numerous overhead cables including a 400kV line. Aeronautical engineer Rodney Fewings said the ultimate responsibility for flight regulation rested with the Irish Aviation Authority and pilots were allowed to fly over power lines.

The presiding inspector asked Mr Fewings about the potential of the overhead lines to impact on the Medevac helicopter operations in Ireland, as this had been raised in a number of submissions in response to the planning application. He said he saw no reason why it should be a problem because of the modern navigation equipment on board new helicopters.

This section dealt with the transboundary and cumulative impact

As members of the County Monaghan Anti Pylon Committee and NEPPC had decided a fortnight ago they would withdraw from the proceedings over EirGrid’s conduct at the hearing, it was left to the presiding inspector to ask EirGrid any relevant questions in this section. EirGrid said a comprehensive evaluation of the potential effects on County Armagh at the point where the proposed line crossed the border at Lemgare in County Monaghan had been set out in the environmental impact statement. These ranged from none to moderate.

EirGrid subsidiary SONI had produced its own impact assessment for the effects in the Republic of the development in Northern Ireland as the line extends to Turleenan near Moy in Co. Tyrone. Both companies together had produced a separate consolidated environmental statement on the entirety of the project.

BIRD STUDIES

EirGrid consultant ecolgist Daireann McDonnell who had presented details of the most recent wintering bird surveys for 2014/15 to the inquiry two days previously in response to a request from the National Parks and Wildlife Service then read a statement into the record. He confirmed that the studies along the proposed line had not identified any new sensitive locations or mitigation requirements for whooper swans. Mr McDonnell recommended that additional flight diverters should be installed on a section of the lines between thirteen towers near the River Blackwater in County Meath.

EIRGRID CLARIFICATION ON LANDS ACCESSED

The hearing was told EirGrid and its consultants had been able to gain access to only 25% of the land along the route required for the towers, because they did not have permission from every landowner. At the conclusion of the module EirGrid lawyer Jarlath Fitzsimons SC outlined the reasons why the company had decided not to use its statutory powers to gain access in order to carry out environmental appraisals.

He said EirGrid respected the rights of each landowner in relation to their own lands, and always sought to achieve access through liaison with landowners and local communities to the greatest extent possible. EirGrid and its team had conducted site appraisals at a sizeable number of locations which, given the high degree of uniformity of land type and land use in both study areas, assisted in the confirmation of the conclusions of the baseline environmental appraisals conducted without the benefit of site surveys, in many instances.

There was no necessity for EirGrid to exercise statutory powers inherited from the ESB in relation to conducting surveys of lands for the proposed interconnector because they were able to use a suite of alternative assessment methods. The senior counsel told the inspectors that EirGrid and its consultants were confident the appraisal methodologies employed where physical access to sites was not granted had not had a material impact on the quantity or quality or adequacy of the information included in both the Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement submitted to the Planning Board as part of the application.

EirGrid remained of the view that the exercise of its statutory powers to gain access to lands compulsorily would have not resulted in additional information being garnered which would have altered the environmental appraisal in any material way, he concluded.

STAGE TWO NEXT WEEK

There is a chance today (Thursday) for interested groups or individuals to comment on part one of the proceedings, which began five weeks ago. On Monday the hearing moves into part two, when elected representatives, concerned residents groups from Co. Meath and then individual landowners will make oral submissions on specific issues. Dates for the hearing have been set until mid-May.

HIGH COURT CASE

At the High Court in Dublin last week Mr Justice Humphreys reserved a decision on a legal case by the North East Pylon Pressure Campaign. They are seeking permission for a judicial review of the validity of the planning application by EirGrid. The judge sad he hoped to give a decision before May 12th.

 

INTERCONNECTOR DAY8

This section dealt with construction, including temporary access routes

Following a request by EirGrid’s lawyer Brian Murray SC, the presiding inspector allowed a change in how the modules had operated until then. The County Monaghan Anti Pylon Committee had been due to begin Tuesday’s proceedings with comments on the plans for construction of the 299 pylons in the Republic. Robert Arthur, transmission lines manager with ESB International who are acting as consultants for EirGrid, made a presentation in which he gave details of nineteen modifications to temporary access routes for tower sites. These are in addition to six routes which had been identified by an EirGrid representative at the start of the hearing.

MODIFIED ACCESS ROUTES

For all these ‘modified access routes’ he said they would be making use of existing access onto land and no new land holdings would be involved. He said 95 landowners had made submissions by January when they had been asked to identify issues regarding temporary access routes of which there were 584. But no direct contact had been made with any land owner.

In a document produced for the inspectors Mr Arthur described what he said were mapping anomalies that had arisen primarily from discrepancies in the translation of site vantage survey records onto the Environmental Impact statement drawings. In other words, while an access route might have been identified from an existing field gate, the access route from this existing gate to a tower location was incorrectly captured on the EIS mapping.

HEARING A FARCE AND CHARADE: NEPPC

A barrister for the NEPPC Michael O’Donnell BL told the inspectors the oral hearing had turned into a farce. He said the hearing could not proceed any further and called for it to be abandoned. He claimed that a new public notice would now have to be issued about the development and this was the only appropriate manner under the planning act. The responses by Mr Arthur had been entirely inadequate and inappropriate, he said.

Counsel for the NEPPC Esmond Keane SC described some of Mr Arthur’s replies as an insult to the integrity and intelligence of every member of the public. Some replies were ‘rubbish’ and he had not given a meaningful response. Mr Keane said it appeared EirGrid had produced utterly radical changes and was planning to go through to the pylon construction points using access to private homes in a number of cases, despite the company’s own environmental guidelines. He said there were many difficulties with the planning application, including some technical drawings that had been provided for the route design plan and profile. On one of them the scale was shown as a tiny bar at the top of the page. It also left ordinary members of the public guessing where ground level was shown.

This was different he said from the detailed drawings of the proposed towers and conductors produced by ESB International for the corresponding application in Northern Ireland by the EirGrid subsidiary SONI. In Tyrone and Armagh, stone roads were proposed to be constructed on just over half the 102 tower locations.

He also questioned Mr Arthur in detail on a proposal for washing down vehicles to remove mud and organic material from vehicles exiting tower sites. The ESB International representative said it was his understanding that vehicles would be washed down before they entered the temporary work area around the pylons. “That doesn’t make sense”, Mr Keane remarked.

Padraig O’Reilly of the NEPPC said the hearing had developed into a charade second time round and called on the inspectors not to go ahead with it. Unless Bord Pleanála responded in a meaningful way then his group would not be taking any further part.

Mary Marron of CMAPC said nineteen landowners did not know where access roads would be going over their land. They had no faith in any sense of fairness if the oral hearing continued and the Monaghan group fully backed the NEPPC stance.

EirGrid lawyer Brian Murray SC said the hearing should go ahead as only 19 out of 584 access routes were involved and EirGrid could begin notifying the affected landowners during the next week. The second part had been set aside to hear from individual landowners.

Michael O’Donnell BL for the NEPPC claimed this amounted to an acknowledgement by EirGrid that the hearing could not proceed, as it would now be necessary to issue a new public notice so that all affected landowners along with neighbours and members of the public could be informed.

But Jarlath Fitzsimons SC for EirGrid pointed out that development consent was not required for access routes. These had been included in the documentation. They formed part of the project and must be looked at by the Planning Board when they were considering the totality of the application. There was no requirement for a new notification, in EirGrid’s view.

The presiding inspector said she would give a decision on whether the hearing would continue when the proceedings opened on Wednesday.

 

INTERCONNECTOR

IMG_20160128_223901A Bord Pleanála oral hearing begins on Monday 7th March into EirGrid’s latest proposal for a North/South electricity interconnector, one of the largest ever infrastructure projects in the history of the state. Two inspectors from the Planning Board began hearing submissions at the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross.

The plan proposes building 299 pylons in the Republic to carry a high voltage (400kV) power line from Woodland in Co. Meath where there is an existing substation to Turleenan near the Moy on County Tyrone. It would pass through Meath, a small part of Co. Cavan near Kingsport and then through 42 town lands in Co. Monaghan. The line is due to cross the border at Lemgare near Clontibret, beside Derrynoose in Co. Armagh. eirgridLogo

The line is a total of 135km long. The Northern Ireland section is subject to a separate planning application by EirGrid’s subsidiary SONI. It is under review by the Planning Appeals Commission, which will hold a preliminary public hearing in Armagh on June 21st to examine legal aspects of the application.

The Commission was requested by the NI Department of the Environment to conduct a public inquiry under Article 31(2) of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 for the purpose of considering representations made in respect of the 2009 application. The inquiry opened on 6th March 2012 but was adjourned on 20th March 2012 when it came to light that the application and the environmental statement and its addenda had not been properly advertised in the press. The Commissioners recommended that before it was re-advertised, the environmental statement should be consolidated and updated to take account of changes put forward by the applicants in their evidence to the inquiry.

On 9th October 2014, the NI Environment Department renewed its request for a public inquiry into the 2009 application for the electricity interconnector proposal and asked that it be conjoined with an inquiry into the 2013 application for associated works. Copies of a consolidated environmental statement relating to both applications had previously been forwarded to the Commission. However, in a further letter dated 18th November 2014, the Department informed the Commission of the applicant’s intention to submit additional environmental information relating to the trans-boundary landscape and visual effects of the proposed development.

The Commission said it would take no further action in relation to the inquiry until:-       the additional environmental information had been submitted and the public consultation period had elapsed;
the Commission was provided with copies of all documents relevant to and arising from the additional information; and
the Department confirmed that it had in its possession all the environmental information it considered necessary to meet the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and Regulations.

System Operator for Northern Ireland welcomed the news that the PAC public enquiry would recommence in June. It said the North South Interconnector was required urgently for security of electricity supply in Northern Ireland. It said the proposed project would reduce electricity prices and provide Northern Ireland with a secure electricity supply by linking the grids in NI and the Republic.

After being referred to the PAC, the Public Inquiry hearing originally began in March 2012 and was subsequently adjourned to allow the submission of further information relating to the planning application. Having received all relevant information, the PAC has notified SONI that proceedings can now continue, a major milestone for the project as SONI’s General Manager Robin McCormick explained:

“We are pleased to have been notified by the PAC about the recommencement of the public inquiry into the North South Interconnector. It is a critical piece of infrastructure, essential for a secure supply of electricity for Northern Ireland. It will also significantly reduce the cost of electricity for consumers across the entire island and will allow us to increase our use of renewable energy, reducing Northern Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. SONI has worked tirelessly to progress the planning application to make these benefits a reality.

“The project is fundamental to the Northern Irish economy and is supported by DETI, the Utility Regulator and all of the main business organisations including CBI, Northern Ireland Chamber and Manufacturing NI, but, in order to keep the lights on and to avoid increasing consumer costs, the interconnector must be built by 2019 and to that end, we would hope for a speedy resolution from the inquiry.”

“We understand that some people have concerns, especially when it comes to large infrastructure projects of this nature. We have teams on the ground, listening and responding to those concerns and would like anyone with questions to know that we are available for discussions, up until the inquiry begins.”

SONI’s specially appointed Agricultural Liaison Officer Fergal Keenan, is available to provide information about the project and can be contacted directly at 07966-930844 or via email fergal.keenan@soni.ltd.uk.

EIRGRID PLANS FOR N/S INTERCONNECTOR

eirgridLogoEIRGRID PLAN FOR N/S INTERCONNECTOR WOULD AFFECT 42 TOWNLANDS IN COUNTY MONAGHAN 

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 18th June p.10

(A copy of my article in this week’s newspaper. I expect that reaction will be published next week and in the coming months.)

EirGrid pylons in County Louth  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

EirGrid pylons in County Louth Photo: © Michael Fisher

The electricity supplier EirGrid has published its controversial plan for a new North/South interconnector, submitted last week to An Bord Pleanála in Dublin. A sum of €100,000 was lodged by the company with the planning Board. EirGrid and its northern counterpart System Operator for Northern Ireland want to build 401 new pylons carrying an overhead 400kV supply line across five counties including Monaghan, Cavan and Meath. 109 of the towers would be erected in Monaghan. Part of the application refers to a plan to operate a temporary yeard for the storage of construction materials at Monaltyduff and Monaltybane outside Carrickmacross near the N2 by-pass.

EirGrid pylon in County Louth  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

EirGrid pylon in County Louth Photo: © Michael Fisher

The power line from Woodland near Batterstown in County Meath to Turleenan near Dungannon in County Tyrone and passing across the border at Lemgare near Clontibret into County Armagh would be one of the biggest infrastructure developments on the island and so it was designated a Project of Common Interest by the European Commission. Such projects are deemed necessary for EU energy policy and are allocated the status of the highest national significance.

Public Consultation

There is now a ten weeks period of statutory public consultation, running until Monday August 24th. The full application documentation, including the Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement is available online at http://www.eirgridnorthsouthinterconnector.ie

Hard copies are also available at a number of venues, including the offices of Monaghan County Council and Eirgrid’s local Project Information Centre at the Workhouse, Shercock Road in Carrickmacross, which is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 12 noon to 6pm.

EirGrid pylon on farmland at Ballykelly in County Louth  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

EirGrid pylon on farmland at Ballykelly in County Louth Photo: © Michael Fisher

 Submissions

Submissions and/or observations in relation to the EirGrid application can be made only to An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, from Tuesday 16th June until Monday 24th August, accompanied by the statutory fee of €50. 

EirGrid pylon in County Louth  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

EirGrid pylon in County Louth Photo: © Michael Fisher

This is an edited version of the EirGrid application form to An Bord Pleanála.

Application Form for Permission/Approval in respect of a Strategic Infrastructure Development 

Please specify the statutory provision under which your application is being made:

Section 182A of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended)

  1. Applicant:

Name of Applicant:  EirGrid plc, with the consent and approval of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB)  Address:  EirGrid plc, The Oval, 160 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Telephone No:  + 353 (1) 2370000

Email Address (if any): northsouth@eirgrid.com

  1. Where Applicant is a company (registered under the companies Acts:

Name(s) of company director(s):

John O’Connor, Fintan Slye, Dr. Joan Smyth, Richard Sterling, Regina Moran, Dr. Gary Healy, Liam O’Halloran, Bride Rosney, Doireann Barry

  1. Person / Agent acting on behalf of the Applicant (if any): 

Name: Leah Kenny, Operations Director

Address:  RPS Planning and Environment, West Pier Business Campus, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Telephone No. + 353 (1) 4882900

Email address (if any): info@rpsgroup.com   

Contact Name and Contact Details (Phone number) for arranging entry on site if required/appropriate:  Aidan Geoghegan (EirGrid Project Manager): + 353 (1)  2370000

  Person responsible for preparation of Drawings and Plans: 

CAVAN MONAGHAN STUDY AREA (CMSA) AND TEMPORARY 

CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL STORAGE YARD, CO. MONAGHAN 

Name: Robert Arthur, Project Leader

Firm/Company: ESBI Engineering & Facility Management Ltd.

Address: ESB International, Stephen Court, 18-21 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.  Telephone No: + 353 (1) 7038000  Email Address (if any): marketing@esbi.ie

Details all plans/drawings submitted – title of drawings/plans, scale and no. of copies submitted. This can be submitted as a separate schedule with the application form.

See Drawing Register in Schedule 1 attached to this Application Form. 

  1. Site:  

Site Address/Location of the Proposed Development (as may best identify the land or structure in question)

(i) A new single circuit 400 kV overhead transmission line covering a distance of approximately 100.5km  across the following townlands in the counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath:

County Monaghan: Lemgare, Lisdrumgormly, Annaglogh, Latnakelly, Tassan, Cashel, Annagh (Cremorne Barony (By)), Carrickanure, Clarderry, Cornamucklagh North, Derryhallagh (Monaghan By), Drumroosk, Cargaghramer, Cornanure (Monaghan By),  Rausker, Terrygreeghan, Cornamucklagh South, Crinkill, Clogher, Drumguillew Lower, Drumhawan, Greagh (Cremorne By), Brackly (Cremorne By), Tullynahinnera,  Cooltrimegish, Boraghy, Aghmakerr, Drumillard (Cremorne By), Tooa, Tullyglass, Cornasassonagh, Corrinenty, Ummerafree, Sreenty, Ardragh, Corvally (Farney By), Raferagh, Cornalaragh, Doagh, Corlea (Electoral District Drumcarrow), Scalkill and  Ballaghnagearn. 

(ii)  Modifications are required to three existing 110 kV overhead lines in the following locations:

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Lisdrum–Louth 110 kV transmission line, in Drumroosk, County Monaghan.

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Louth-Rathrussan 110 kV transmission line, in Corrinenty and Corbane, County Monaghan.

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Arva-Navan 110 kV transmission line, in Diméin Bhaile Ghib (Gibstown Demesne and Tailtin (Teltown), County Meath.

(v)   An associated temporary construction material storage yard to be located in the townlands of Monaltyduff and Monaltybane, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.

A full description of the proposed development is provided at Item 9, below.

Ordnance Survey Map Ref No (and the Grid Reference where applicable)

Transmission Line: 

OSI Discovery Series 1:50,000:

Monaghan: 2632, 2832, 2630, 2830, 2628, 2828.

OSI 1:10,560 (6”):

Monaghan: 14, 15, 19, 20, 24, 27, 30, 33.

OSI 1: 2,500:

Monaghan: 1159, 1160, 1220, 1221, 1219, 1285, 1286, 1354, 1355, 1423, 1424, 1490, 1557, 1624, 1625, 1694, 1695, 1763, 1764, 1766, 1824, 1825.

Existing 110 kV Overhead Lines Modifications:   

OSI Discovery Series 1:50,000:

Monaghan: OS2630, OS2632

OSI 1:10,560 (6”):

Monaghan: 19, 24, 27

OSI 1: 2,500:

Monaghan: 1219, 1220, 1286, 1285, 1625

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:  (Carrickmacross)

Irish Grid Coordinates: E 286200, N 302169  ITM Coordinates E 686132, N 802180

Area of site to which the application relates in hectares:

The primary element of the proposed development is a linear transmission line.

The proposed transmission line (comprising both a new single circuit, and addition of a new circuit along the currently unused northern side of the existing Oldstreet to Woodland 400 kV transmission line) is approximately 103.35km in length.

The proposed development includes 2 No. site-specific elements:

 Woodland 400 kV Substation:   0.544ha

 Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard: 1.4ha

Site zoning in current Development Plan for the area:

Transmission Line:  None

Woodland 400 kV Substation:  None

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:  None

Existing use of the site & proposed use of the site:

Transmission Line:

Existing Use:  Primarily Agriculture

Proposed Use: Agriculture and transmission infrastructure (agricultural practices can still be carried out under the line and the land on which the structures will be located will be used for transmission of electricity)

Existing 110 kV Overhead Lines Modifications:    

Existing Use:                  Primarily Agriculture and transmission infrastructure

Proposed Use:               Primarily Agriculture and transmission infrastructure

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:   

Existing Use:                 Agriculture

Proposed Use:              Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard

Name of the Planning Authority(s) in whose functional area the site is situated:

Monaghan County Council

  1. Legal Interest of Applicant in respect of the site the subject of the application   

Please tick appropriate box to show applicant’s legal interest in the land or structure:

Owner /Occupier/ Other  x

Where legal interest is “Other”, please expand further on your interest in the land  or structure.

EirGrid plc is the licensed Transmission System Operator for Ireland pursuant to the provisions of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999.  Pursuant to the provisions of S.I. No 445/2000, EirGrid plc has the exclusive function to operate and ensure the maintenance of and, if necessary, develop a safe,secure, reliable, economical and efficient electricity transmission system.

The Electricity Supply Board is the licensed Transmission System Owner for Ireland pursuant to Section 14 of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999.

The proposed transmission infrastructure will be constructed by the Electricity Supply Board pursuant to statutory powers.

If you are not the legal owner, please state the name and address of the owner and supply a letter from the owner of consent to make the application as listed in the accompanying documentation.

The owner of the Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard to be located in the townlands of Monaltyduff and Monaltybane, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan is Mr. Peter Kelly, Dunanny, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.  A letter of consent and approval to the making of the application from Mr. Kelly is included in Schedule 2 attached to this Application Form.

Does the applicant own or have a beneficial interest in adjoining, abutting or adjacent lands.  If so, identify the lands and state the interest.

EirGrid plc, the applicant for approval, does not have a beneficial interest in adjoining, abutting or adjacent lands.

Site History 

Details regarding site history (if known):  

Has the site in question ever, to your knowledge, been flooded?

Transmission Line:   Yes:  [ ✓  ]     No: [    ]

Some localised flooding may have occurred in particular locations along the length of the line route.

Existing 110 kV Overhead Lines Modifications:   Yes:  [ ✓  ]     No: [    ]

Some localised flooding may have occurred in particular locations along the length of the line route. 

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:  Yes:    [   ]     No: [ ✓ ]

While EirGrid is not aware of any flooding on this site, historical geological data indicates that a turlough may have occurred on this site.  However, more recent and up-to-date information suggests the site is not a turlough.

If yes, please give details e.g. year, extent:

Are you aware of previous uses of the site e.g. dumping or quarrying?

Transmission Line:  Yes:  [   ]     No: [✓ ]

Existing 110 kV Overhead Lines Modifications:   Yes:  [   ]     No: [✓ ]

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:   Yes:    [  ✓ ]     No: [  ]

If yes, please give details: It is understood that this site was previously used as a  construction depot for the N2 Carrickmacross By-pass project

Are you aware of any valid planning applications previously made in respect of this land / structure?  

Transmission Line: Yes:  [✓  ]     No: [    ]

Existing 110 kV Overhead Lines Modifications: Yes:  [  ]     No: [  ✓ ]

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard:   Yes:    []     No: [  ✓ ]

If yes, please state planning register reference number(s) of same if known and details of applications                              See below.

Reg. Ref. No:                 Nature of Proposed Development 

Nature of Final Decision of Application Grant or Refusal by Planning Authority/An Bord Pleanála

Transmission Line 

VA0006 (An Bord Pleanála SI Reg Ref) The Meath-Tyrone 400 kV Interconnection Development.        Withdrawn

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard    

N/A N/A: however, it is understood that this site was previously used as a temporary storage site during the construction of the  N2 Carrickmacross By-pass and was subsequently restored to agricultural use               N/A

If a valid planning application has been made in respect of this land or structure in the 6 months prior to the submission of this application, then any required site notice must be on a yellow background in accordance with Article 19(4) of the Planning and Development regulations 2001 as amended.      Not Applicable

Is the site of the proposal subject to a current appeal to An Bord Pleanála in respect of a similar development?  Yes:  [   ]  No:[ ✓ ]

  1. Description of the Proposed Development  

Brief description of nature and extent of development

The proposed North-South 400 kV Interconnection Development located in Counties  Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, which will be the subject of the application for approval, is approximately 103.35km long and consists of the following principal elements:

  (i)  A new single circuit 400 kV overhead transmission line (covering a distance of approximately 100.5km  in the counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath) extending in a generally southerly alignment from the jurisdictional border with Northern Ireland (between the townland of Doohat or Crossreagh, County Armagh, and the townland of Lemgare, County Monaghan) to the townland of Bogganstown (Electoral District (ED) Culmullin), County Meath.  In addition the proposed transmission line crosses the jurisdictional border with Northern Ireland at two points –  from the townland of Lemgare, County Monaghan into the townland of Crossbane, County Armagh and back into the townland of Lemgare, County Monaghan.  This transmission line comprises 299 No. new lattice steel support structures (ranging in height from approximately 26m to 51m over ground level), with associated conductors, insulators, and other apparatus.

The proposed new transmission line extends across the following townlands of County Monaghan, County Cavan and County Meath:

County Monaghan: (see Section 6 – Site)

(ii)  Modifications are required to three existing 110 kV overhead lines.  The modifications comprise the insertion of additional polesets and / or replacement of existing structures with polesets of shorter height (ranging in height from approximately 11.5m to 19m over ground level) in the following locations:

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Lisdrum–Louth 110 kV transmission line, in Drumroosk, County Monaghan.

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Louth-Rathrussan 110 kV transmission line, in Corrinenty and Corbane, County Monaghan.

 The vicinity of where the proposed 400 kV overhead transmission line intersects with the Arva-Navan 110 kV transmission line, in Diméin Bhaile Ghib (Gibstown Demesne and Tailtin (Teltown), County Meath.

 (v)   An associated temporary construction material storage yard to be located in the townlands of Monaltyduff and Monaltybane, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, on a site of approximately 1.4ha, including associated site works, new site entrance onto the L4700 Local Road, associated 2.6m high boundary palisade fencing  (with noise barrier affixed) and associated ancillary staff facilities and parking.

(vi) All associated and ancillary development including works comprising or relating to permanent and temporary construction and excavation.   

NOTE: See Schedule 7 attached to this Application Form which outlines the heights of the existing and proposed towers. 

 11. Where the application relates to a building or buildings*: 

(*Note:  temporary staff accommodation is proposed for the construction compound site – precise details will be agreed with the planning authority)    

  1. Where the application refers to a material change of use of any land or structure or the retention of such a material change of use: 

Existing use (or previous use where retention permission is sought)

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard – Existing use is agriculture.

Proposed use (or use it is proposed to retain)

Temporary Construction Material Yard – Proposed use is as a Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard.

Nature and extent of any such proposed use (or use it is proposed to retain).

See Description of Development  Item 9

  1. Development Details  Please tick appropriate box:  If answer is yes please give details  YES/NO                                                   

Does the proposed development involve the demolition of a Protected Structure(s), in whole or in part?   NO

Does the proposed development consist of work to a protected structure and/or its curtilage or proposed protected structure and/or its curtilage?  NO

Note: The proposed development passes through the grounds of a number of protected structures that relate to associated demesne landscapes.

Does the proposed development consist of work to the exterior of a structure which is located within an architectural conservation area (ACA)?   No

Does the application relate to development which affects or is close to a monument or place recorded under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994.   Yes

The line route passes near a number of monuments or places recorded under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994. (See Chapter 14, Volumes 3C and 3D of the EIS)

Does the application relate to work within or close to a European Site or a Natural Heritage Area? Yes

The proposed electricity transmission line will oversail two European sites (the River Boyne and Blackwater cSAC, and River Boyne and Blackwater SPA) in two locations; no towers are proposed to be constructed within these designated areas.  The closest tower (Tower 355) is at a distance of 6m from the River Boyne and Blackwater cSAC boundary.

Does the development require the preparation of a Natura Impact Statement? Yes.  Enclosed.  (See Volume 5 of the application documentation)

Does the proposed development require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement?  Yes.  Enclosed. (See Volume 3 of the application documentation) 

Do you consider that the proposed development is likely to have significant effects on the environment in a transboundary state? Yes 

The proposed development is likely to have significant effects on the  environment of an area of a Member State of the European Union (i.e. Northern Ireland).  

  16. Services

Proposed Source of Water   

Temporary Material Storage Yard: 

Other (please specify):  If potable / drinking water is required, it will be brought to the site in tanks.

Proposed Wastewater Management / Treatment:    

Temporary Material Storage Yard: 

Other on site treatment system: [  ✓ ] Please Specify:  Portaloos

Proposed Surface Water Disposal: 

Temporary Material Storage Yard: 

Public Sewer / Drain:[   ]  Soakpit:[   ] Watercourse: [   ] Other: [ ✓  ] Please specify:

Settlement pond & grass swale

  1. Notices

Details of public newspaper notice – paper(s) and date of publication

The public notice was published in the following newspapers:

Irish Times published  Tuesday 2nd June 2015 (Notice in English)

Irish Independent published  Tuesday 2nd June 2015 (Notice in English)

An Seachtain insert of the Irish Independent published  Wednesday 3rd  June 2015 (Notice in Irish) 

Meath Chronicle published on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 but dated Saturday 6th June 2015  (Notice in English)

The Northern Standard published and dated Thursday  4th June 2015 (Notice in English)

The Anglo Celt published on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 but dated Thursday 4th June (Notice in English)

Copy of page(s) of relevant newspaper enclosed Yes: [✓ ]   No:[  ]

Refer to Schedule 3 attached to this Application Form.

Details of site notice, if any, – location and date of erection

The approximate locations of the site notices are as follows:

County Monaghan (near the jurisdictional border with Northern Ireland, in the townland of Lemgare, County Monaghan): Irish Grid Coordinates: E 279779, N 328349  ITM Coordinates: E 679704, N 828355

Temporary Construction Material Storage Yard  (at the junction of the  L4700 Local Road and the link road to the N2 in the townland of Monaltyduff, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan):  Irish Grid Coordinates: E 286083, N 302232

ITM Coordinates E 686015, N 802243

Details of other forms of public notification, if appropriate e.g. website  The application may be viewed on the following website: http://www.eirgridnorthsouthinterconnector.ie.

Other forms of public notification include: mass mailing to project stakeholders, including landowners, which includes the PCI Public Information Leaflet and a Community Update Brochure; and local print and radio activity to promote the opening hours of the Project Information Centres.

  1. Pre-application Consultation:

Date(s) of statutory pre-application consultations  with An Bord Pleanála 

2nd December 2010

31st July 2013

15th October 2013

18th December 2013

23rd December 2013

Schedule of any other pre application consultations name of person/body and date of consultation to be provided as appropriate and also details of any general public consultations  i.e. methods, dates, venues etc. This can  be submitted as a separate schedule with the application form.  

Enclosed:  See Schedule 5 attached to this Application Form.

Also see Volume 2B of the application documentation (Public and Landowner Consultation Report) and Chapter 3 of Volume 3B the EIS.

Yes:  [✓]  No:[    ]

Schedule of prescribed bodies to whom notification of the making of the application has been sent and a sample copy of such notification.

Enclosed: See Schedule 6 attached to this Application Form which identifies the Prescribed Authorities notified of the making of the application and copies of the letters notifying them of the making of the application.

Yes:  [✓ ]  No:[    ]

  1. Application Fee.

Fee Payable €100,000

I hereby declare that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the information given in this form is correct and accurate and that the application documents being deposited at the planning authority offices, and any other location specified by the Board in pre application consultations, including a website (if any) will be identical to the application documents being deposited with the Board. 

Signed:  Aidan Geoghegan,  EirGrid Project Manager Date: 9th June 2015

PYLONS CONTROVERSY

ANTI-PYLON GROUP STEPS UP CAMPAIGN AGAINST EIRGRID PLANS FOR ELECTRICITY INTERCONNECTOR
Michael Fisher

EirGrid substation at Ballykelly, Co. Louth near Inniskeen for North/South Interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

EirGrid substation at Ballykelly, Co. Louth near Inniskeen for North/South Interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

A group representing landowners and householders opposed to EirGrid plans for an overhead North/South electricity connector that would be routed through south and mid Monaghan met last night to arrange a fresh campaign against the proposals. A public meeting has been organised by the County Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee to be held on Monday April 20th at Aughnamullen Community Centre, Lough Egish. All of the county’s TDs and councillors are being invited to attend. Committee member Nigel Hillis told the Northern Standard their opposition to the plans was stronger than before.

Last week EirGrid’s Chief Executive Fintan Slye visited Carrickmacross as the company announced its new draft strategy for the future development of Ireland’s electricity transmission grid. It included updated plans for the North/South 400 kV Interconnection Development that would cross five counties from Meath to Tyrone.

EirGrid banner for North/South Interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

EirGrid banner for North/South Interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

EirGrid and its Northern counterpart SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) are jointly proposing a new high capacity electricity interconnector between the two networks. The draft strategy says there remains a clear need for the North/South Interconnector, and that the existing preference for a 400kV overhead line is still the most appropriate solution for the project.

The development would link a substation at Woodland, Batterstown in County Meath with a planned substation in Turleenan, in the Dungannon area of County Tyrone. EirGrid intends to submit a planning application for the North/South Interconnector in the coming weeks. Currently there is only a single interconnector, that runs past Ballykelly on the Carrickmacross to Dundalk road in County Louth (a few kilometers from Inniskeen)  to Tandragee in County Armagh.

Shane Brennan of EirGrid (right) points out the route of the proposed interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

Shane Brennan of EirGrid (right) points out the route of the proposed interconnector Photo © Michael Fisher

At their public information office in Carrickmacross, SONI Eirgrid Project Manager Shane Brennan from Clontibret explained to me that the new interconnector would increase the capacity and reliability of interconnection between the two networks. It would allow the two independent networks to operate together as if they were one system, thus improving competition, and securing the electricity supply throughout the island of Ireland. EirGrid maintains that operating the two networks as if they were one system will bring cost savings for all electricity consumers as larger electricity systems can be operated more efficiently than smaller ones.

The increase in interconnection capacity will also facilitate the development of wind generation, which will help achieve Ireland’s renewable energy targets. Last November EirGrid submitted its draft application to An Bord Pleanála for review.  The following month, An Bord informed EirGrid that it has reviewed the draft and that certain specified missing information was required to be submitted. Last month EirGrid sent in further information, as requested.

EirGrid pylon at Ballykelly, Co. Louth near Inniskeen Photo © Michael Fisher

EirGrid pylon at Ballykelly, Co. Louth near Inniskeen Photo © Michael Fisher

Meanwhile EirGrid has re-published its proposed line route which will form the basis of an application for planning approval to be submitted to the planning authority in the coming months. This follows a review of the December 2013 line design. The review resulted in some of the proposed pylon locations being re-positioned along the proposed route, but the alignment itself was not changed.

Maps have now been made available showing the proposed route in County Monaghan. It takes in parts of Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, Magheracloone, Corduff/Raferagh then on to a controversial section around Lough Egish. The route continues to Drumhowan, Doohamlet, Annyalla and Clontibret where it skirts the battlefield site and then joins the Northern grid in County Armagh.

EirGrid has opened three project information offices, including one at the Workhouse in Carrickmacross where those with an interest can  call in and meet the project team. The Carrick office on the Shercock Road is open on Mondays and Thursdays 12 noon – 6pm.

EirGrid information office Carrickmacross Photo © Michael Fisher

EirGrid information office Carrickmacross Photo © Michael Fisher

According to Fintan Slye of EirGrid, there remains a clear strategic need for a second north-south interconnector.
“We committed last year, to be open with people and find out what it is they want from this most critical of infrastructure.  We are now asking people to give us their views on our draft strategy”, he said. Mr Slye concluded: “EirGrid must ensure the necessary grid is in place to ensure that Ireland remains competitive – fostering economic growth, attracting new investments, and supporting indigenous jobs. It must do this without placing too great a burden on communities, or too high a cost on industry. When we have received people’s feedback we will submit this draft to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for its consideration before publishing the final strategy later this year.”

The County Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee has been campaigning against the overhead route for the past seven years. It has argued that the lines should be placed underground. Nigel Hillis, an engineer, said the need for a new interconnector had not been identified by EirGrid and they had not persuaded people living in the affected area that it was needed. This was not the case with another major infrastructure development when the main N2 road was being improved with by-passes around Castleblayney and Carrickmacross.

He said there was still serious opposition to the plans. One of the main concerns from the start, he said, had been the scale of the project, because the size and topography of the small farms in the county had not been taken into account when the positioning of pylons was being worked out. He said EirGrid had not identified the need for having big pylons on top of hills, close to a farmyard or houses. (The company said the centre of the proposed high voltage line would be no nearer to a residence than 50 metres).

Mr Hillis questioned why EirGrid was suggesting that part of the proposed GridWest scheme (up to 30km) could be situated underground using trenches alongside roads. He claimed that people in Monaghan were being treated as second class citizens and said they wanted to be treated the same as others.

The Dáil Communications Committee chaired by John O’Mahony T.D. has invited EirGrid to appear before them in the coming weeks to answer questions about the North/South interconnector. Mr Hillis hopes his group will also be given a chance to put their views across as well. From the first day of their formation the committee had argued for an underground route and that was now feasible, he said, as this option was being considered for the other two major grid projects.

Eirgrid says there are technical issues with putting 400kV AC lines underground over long distances and there would be operational complexities. It maintains that underground cables for the North/South route would be too expensive and difficult to install. Local residents however think the cost to them, their livelihoods, their homes and to local tourism would be equally damaging.

Northern Standard Thursday April 9th p.31 with pictures by © Pat Byrne

Northern Standard Thursday April 9th p.31 with pictures by © Pat Byrne