August 5, 2008

Campaigners Pylon the Pressure


MORE than 1,000 tractors took part in a massive protest in the Republic against plans by an electricity giant to construct a power line corridor from Northern Ireland into the south.

The vehicles gathered in a field near Kilmainhamwood, in Co Meath, to spell out the words 'No Pylons'.

North East Pylon Pressure (NEEP) campaign group want the 400kV lines on pylons from the border to Co Meath put underground.

However, electricity firm EirGrid claims an independent report had found this would make the project five times more expensive and make it less reliable. NEEP spokesman Liam Cahill said burying the lines was in keeping with best international practice.

"It is technically feasible to do it and better from a health and tourism point of view. The cost of sending the cables underground works out the same as putting it overground," he said.

Cavalcades of tractors started from various points in each of three affected counties - Meath, Monaghan and Cavan - from early morning and converged on the farmland shortly after lunchtime.

EirGrid says the 110km project is essential to secure supplies of electricity to the region and that without it the current power lines would be overloaded in the future.

"These lines will be absolutely vital in providing secure, reliable and high quality supplies in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan, in ensuring greater competition in the electricity market, in encouraging renewable energy and maintaining secure electricity nationwide," said spokesman Michael Kelly.

The project involves two power lines, the first from Tyrone to Cavan, and the second from Cavan to Meath.

Eirgrid is considering three potential routes and will apply for planning permission once a final route has been selected.

It is hoping to have the new lines in place by 2012.

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