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Tourism factors were not considered in grid route selection say Fáilte Ireland

A submission to Grid Link claims that these factors were “insufficiently developed in the analysis”.

Image: David Cheskin/PA Wire

FÁILTE IRELAND TOLD the planners of Eirgrid’s Grid Link project that tourism factors have not been considered enough in the planned construction of new electricity pylons.

The tourism body made a submission as part of Grid Link’s consultation process and said that “Ireland’s landscape has been a cornerstone on international tourism marketing” and needs to be protected.

“It is our view that tourism factors, and the weightings associated with those factors, have been insufficiently developed in the analysis and consequently we are of the view that the potential impacts of this development on tourism have not been rigorously addressed,” wrote Fáilte Ireland’s Paddy Mathews.

The agency’s view comes from an assessment of the project they commissioned that was carried out by planners Brady Shipman Martin. The report said that the Grid Link project did not list landscape aspects among their highest rated criteria in their planning.

The commissioned report said that tourism factors are considered in the Grid Link proposals but were not used to decide on the grid route. “They (tourism factors) do not appear to be appropriately integrated into the analysis guiding the corridor selection process”.

Fáilte Ireland included commissioned as part of their submission to Eirgrid.

Grid Link Action Group

The information comes a day after campaigners against the Grid Link project have also called for the resignation of the Eirgrid Project Manager, John Lowry following what they say is his insistence that underground cabling is not feasible for the project.

Interim Chairman for the Grid Link Action Group, Kieran Connors has claimed that Lowry has “misled the public, and possibly the Government” on the possibility of underground cabling.

“If he is not aware that there is an underground solution, then he should not hold the position he does. He is either incompetent or deadset on misleading both the government and the general public.”, says Kieran.

“The fact of the matter is that the Irish Government’s own International Expert Commission report published in 2012 has stated that undergrounding is feasible in the Irish network”, he adds.

Eirgrid say, however, that Lowry’s views on an underground line are in fact in line with the Government’s Independent Expert Commission.

They say that using the AC technology, which is  the type of electricity used on the grid, is not possible to go underground over the distances covered in the project. This they say is in line with the commission findings.

Eirgrid say that, using different DC technology, an underground line is feasible but that the limitations of this technology do not make it feasible for the Grid Link project.

Read: MEP looks to tackle government’s pylon ‘myths’ as Coveney acknowledges ‘genuine concerns’ >

Read: Eirgrid receives thousands of submissions on pylon project >

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Rónán Duffy

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