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Public to get more detail on controversial interconnector

A series of public consultation events are taking place in Armagh into the proposed north-south interconnector.

It comes after Armagh I exclusively revealed that a fresh planning application for the north-south power line had been lodged and that the plans were for overhead cables, despite protests.

A total of 102 towers carrying 400,000kV cables will stretch from Trewmount in Moy, across Benburb, Killylea, Armagh, Keady and beyond to the border.

And there a separate application has been submitted by EirGrid which will carry the £250 million inter-connector on to Cavan.

The official planning application is for: “Lands between the proposed new NIE substation at the rear of 152 Trewmount Road, Moy, Co Tyrone, in the townland of Turleenan, to the townlands of Doohat or Crossreagh and Crossbane, Co Armagh, on the border with the Republic Of Ireland.”

It intends a single circuit 400kV overhead line, comprising 102 towers, over 34.1kms, from Trewmount Road, Moy, to te border.

Works would include site levelling, site preparation works, amending existing access points, construction of new access points, construction of new access lanes, construction of working areas, stringing areas, guarding, site boundary fencing and related mitigation works.

Associated works will be required to amend the existing 275kV line, removing one existing 275kV tower and the erection of two new 275kV towers.electricity-pylon

Given the scale of the proposals, and the level of public interest, the decision on whether or not to proceed will rest with the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

The single overhead line will stretch from Trewmount Road in Moy, and constructed along the following route: Derrygalley Way; Major’s Lane; Moy Road; Culkeeran Road; Rhone Road; Gorestown Road; Culrevog Road; Benburb Road; Drumlee Road; Clonfeacle Road; Tullydowey Road; Artasooly Road; Tullysaran Road; Tullyneagh Road; Battleford Road,; Bracknagh Road; Lisdown Road; Navan Fort Road; Killylea Road; Ballyhoy Road; Tullycallidy Road; Cormeen Road; Brootally Road; Dernalea Road; Monaghan Road; Maddan Road; Hanslough Road; Cavanagarvan Road; Sheetrim Road; Drumhillery Road; Tivnacree Road; Rawes Road; Glassdrummond Road; Fergort Road; Listrakelt Road; Derrynoose Road; Doohat Road; and Crossbane Road.

Sinn Féin councillor Darren McNally is encouraging people with concerns about the interconnector to attend information days on the project and engage with the latest public consultation process.

“I’d encourage everyone to get all the information they can, get educated on what the benefits and the implications of such a huge project are and engage fully with the consultation process,” he told Armagh I. “It’s the best way to make your voice heard.”

“A new full planning application has been submitted for the interconnector so there will now be a new round of public consultations,” he said.

“As this is a new application people will have to make fresh submissions about any aspects of the application that have been changed from the last time.

“It’s a little confusing so to help people out with information about what exactly has changed and what is being proposed, information days are being held in the Armagh City Hotel.

“They are open from 12 noon to 7pm every Tuesday and Thursday until July 30 and then every day from Monday,  August 3 to Friday, August 7.

“This is a huge project and there are very legitimate concerns about it so I would encourage everyone to take the time to go to the information days and get any submissions they want to make to the public consultation process in before the deadline of August 24.”

MLA Cathal Boylan also urged people to get involved with the process.

He added: “This project has tremendous potential but people have very legitimate concerns about it that must be heeded,” he said.

“We have held a number of meetings about this on both sides of the border, the latest happening in Carrickmacross, and it’s quite clear that there is huge public interest in the project.

“I’d encourage everyone to get all the information they can, get educated on what the benefits and the implications of such a huge project are and engage fully with the consultation process. It’s the best way to make your voice heard.”

In support of the application, the DoE says further environmental information relating to the Consolidated Environmental Statement (2013) has been submitted, containing updates surrounding the project, a joint SONI/EirGrid environmental report, an update on need, an overview of planning and policy issues, a cumulative impact assessment, a haulage route assessment, updated ecological assessment, an air quality and climate assessment, an assessment of technology alternatives and a noise assessment.

And because of the vast amout of additional information, the Department says it has not been possible to notify again all those neighbours and individuals who had submitted letters of objection.

The new information may be examined at the Strategic Planning Division, Level 5, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EG (Tel: 0300 200 7830). It can also be viewed at the Planning NI Web Portal via Public Access www.planningni.gov.uk.

Copies are also on public show at Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council offices at the Palace Demesne, Armagh, and at the Mid Ulster District Council offices on Dungannon’s Circular Road.

In addition, of the branch libraries in Armagh, Dungannon and Portadown will have the material on public display.

Written representations can be forwarded to DOE Strategic Planning Division, Level 5, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Town Parks, Belfast, BT2 7EG.

Responded can be lodged for the next four weeks, quoting the reference: 0/2013/0214/F.

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