NATIONAL POWER supplier Eirgrid has moved to reassure residents of Rush, in north Dublin, that they have no reason to fear installation of high-voltage power line under the village’s main street.
The €600 million electricity interconnector between Wales and Ireland is being landed at Rush’s North Beach and will be carried through the village in a heavy-duty plastic duct, buried one metre below the street surface.
Last month, in response to concerns expressed by Rush Community Council that it could represent a threat to public health and safety, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan asked Eirgrid to re-examine the route.
But the company has pointed out that nearby Rogerstown Estuary is a designated Natura 2000 site and EU guidelines set down that any project having a significantly negative effect on such a site “may only be authorised in the absence of alternative solutions”.
In a leaflet distributed to homes in the area and in local newspaper advertisements, Eirgrid says: “The interconnector is safe and in compliance with the national and international guidelines in relation to exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs).
“The safety guidelines are more than 9,000 times greater than the magnetic field of the interconnector. The static magnetic fields from the interconnector are actually less than the earth’s natural magnetic field”, the company maintains. “An Bord Pleanála has considered submissions on health in relation to the interconnector and decided that there were no public health concerns. . . If there were any health risks, the project would not have received planning permission,” it says.
Eirgrid’s leaflet also points out that there are more than 300km of high-voltage underground electricity cables in Dublin city, including residential areas, while other sources of direct current (the type used in the interconnector) include Dart and Luas.
“Reference has been made to studies conducted by the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research Group and Draper. The studies relate to a different form of electricity (alternating current) than the form that will be transmitted on the East–West Interconnector.”
“The minimum burial depth of the cables will be one metre (and not 300mm), which is standard practice for underground electricity cables. The cable will be contained within a heavy-duty plastic duct, which is surrounded by different layers of protection.”
A road opening licence would be required before digging and “therefore no residents are at risk of accidentally digging up the cable”. Work would also be completed quickly, at the rate of 30 to 50m per day.
Eirgrid’s leaflet also notes that it will be making a “community contribution” of €100,000 to Fingal County Council, of which 90 per cent had been “ring-fenced for Rush”. More detailed information is available at interconnector.ie and the project team can be contacted by phoning 1890 364656.