Planning Permission Granted for North-South Interconnector

Planning Permission Granted for North-South Interconnector

Full planning permission for the 400kv overhead electricity line, known as the North South Interconnector, has been granted by the Department for Infrastructure. The Interconnector, proposed by SONI (System Operator of Northern Ireland) and EirGrid will create a cross border electricity line with the Republic of Ireland.

DfI published the independent report prepared by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) following a public inquiry into the proposal held in February 2017. During the four day hearing, the Commission heard submissions and considered evidence from all parties before presenting its findings to the Department. The PAC report includes full consideration of the planning issues and recommends that planning permission is granted. Importantly, the report endorses the significant strategic importance of the development for Northern Ireland at an international, national and regional level and its compliance with planning policy.

In arriving at the final decision, the Department carefully considered and agreed with the independent report and recommendations of the PAC which states there is an urgent and compelling need for the proposed development.

The Department for Infrastructure considered that it is in the public interest to take this decision, without further delay, given the strategic importance of the project for the region.

Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI, said:

“We very much welcome this positive outcome from the Department for Infrastructure. The North South Interconnector is undoubtedly the most important infrastructure scheme on the island today and will deliver very real benefits to domestic and commercial consumers.

“It has received strong support from businesses and employers because of the positive impact it will have on the economy, and from consumer groups as it will help reduce the cost of electricity.

“While we recognise this project is to the benefit of everyone, we will continue to work to ensure that it is delivered at the least possible impact to the communities and landowners who are hosting it.

“In the coming months we will hand over the project to NIE Networks who will construct the interconnector, in the meantime we will be on the ground engaging with landowners and the community, ensuring they remain up-to-date on progress and timelines.”

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