Planning approval granted for North-South interconnector

A new electricity interconnector between Northern Ireland and the Republic has been given the go ahead.

The North-South interconnector will link both electricity grids between Co Tyrone and Co Meath with an overhead line and pylons at a cost of £200million.

Those behind the project say its needed to ensure the security of Northern Ireland's electricity supply, but there has been opposition.

Approval for the Northern Ireland section was granted by the Department for Infrastructure on Tuesday. The Department said it is in the public interest for the project to go ahead.

The Republic of Ireland section had already been approved in December 2016.

The interconnector is a joint project between the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) and EirGrid in the Republic of Ireland.

Commenting on the planning decision, Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI said working with landowners and the community will remain a priority: “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.”

When work begins the project will take three-years to complete.