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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 22 December, 2014

Phil Prendergast: 8 reasons why pylons should not go ahead

MEP outlines her arguments for opposing Eirgrid’s Gridlink infrastructure plan, which would see giant pylons across rural areas.

Phil Prendergast MEP

THE GRIDLINK PROJECT to erect extra large electricity pylons in rural areas has come in for a lot of criticism.

Thousands of submissions have been received on Eirgrid’s plan, which aims to expand and upgrade the country’s electricity infrastructure. In addition, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was criticised for seeming to link the need for the project to ending emigration.

Ireland South MEP Phil Prendergast is one of those opposed to the pylons project. Here she outlines eight reasons why she would not like to see it go ahead:

1. These pylons are huge.

Like, very, very big. The current proposals are for pylons up to 60m in height

Liberty Hall is only 59m high…

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Pic: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

2. It’s potentially dangerous to our health.

Numerous epidemiological (population) studies and comprehensive reviews have evaluated magnetic field exposure and risk of cancer in children. Since the two most common cancers in children are leukemia and brain tumors, most of the research has focused on these two types. A study in 1979 pointed to a possible association between living near electric power lines and childhood leukemia…

Currently, researchers conclude that there is limited evidence that magnetic fields from power lines cause childhood leukemia, and that there is inadequate evidence that these magnetic fields cause other cancers in children.

- Source, National Cancer Institute Full text here

3. It devalues house prices.

According to a 2012 American Appraisal Institute study visible overhead transmission lines can reduce residential property values by between 20 and 50%.

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Pic: House prices via Shutterstock.com

4. It is largely unnecessary.

The bulk of the power generated from these new renewable sources will be sold for profit to the UK and continental Europe. A 2008 study showed that these plans would lead to us generating 42% from renewables, whereas our EU target is a mere 16%.

5. It will have an impact on tourism in the region.

According to Fáilte Ireland, “a majority of tourists consider that electricity pylons constitute a negative visual impact on the Irish landscape”.

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The Comeragh Mountains, which stand in one of the proposed routes to feature the 750 pylons. Pic: SeanJohnSean/Flickr/Creative Commons

6. Undergrounding is neither as expensive, nor as unfeasible as they say.

Svenska Kraftnät, the Swedish national grid operator, will in 2014 complete an underground HVDC cable system which will have the capacity to transport 2 x 660 megawatts (MW) of electric power at a voltage level of 300 kilovolts (kV) across a distance of about 200 kilometers between Barkaryd and Hurva in southern Sweden.

Clever Swedes.

7. Sometimes big can be beautiful.

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Pic: Martin Keene/ PA

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Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA

But these are very ugly…

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Pic: David Cheskin/PA Wire

8. I wouldn’t live beside one. I wouldn’t rear my children beside one. So how can we ask anyone else to do so?

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