Sunday 20 June 2010

Locals oppose €600m Eirgrid pipeline over health concerns

RESIDENTS OF Rush in north county Dublin are opposing the development of a €600 million underground electricity pipeline because they say health and safety issues have not been adequately addressed by developer Eirgrid.

The depth of the pipeline and the potential health risks created by magnetic currents were among the concerns expressed by up to 300 residents at a public information meeting held last week.

Development on the interconnector is scheduled to begin later this month. The pipeline will be placed 1m (3.2ft) below ground as work takes place in Rush over the next 18 months. The National electricity network operator Eirgrid was granted permission by An Bord Pleanála to build the East-West interconnector pipeline between Ireland and Wales last year and they say their plans comply fully with all the relevant domestic and EU regulations.

A spokeswoman for Eirgrid said the interconnector posed no potential health risks and the shallow depth of the piping around Rush was necessary to maximise the capacity of energy flowing through the interconnector.

“The pipeline will be laid at quite a shallow depth and will emit slight magnetic currents, but they would be no different to the magnetic currents that are produced naturally by the Earth,” she said.

Residents say Eirgrid has failed to adequately notify them about the interconnector, according to chairman of the Rush Development Council Charlie Monks.

Mr Monks said locals were concerned about plans to lay sections of the interconnector close to residential areas. “People in the area are genuinely nervous that this pipeline could affect their health . . . a lot of people turned up at the meeting because they didn’t actually know this development was taking place until recently. Eirgrid has scheduled an information day next Thursday but work on the pipeline starts a week later on June 28th. The meeting comes too late for residents to object.”

Irish Times

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