Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (31)

Martin Heydon


31. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will ensure that there is a real and meaningful engagement process between EirGrid and residents in the areas affected by the Grid Link project who have very serious concerns about the impact that this major project will have on their communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45031/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government Policy Statement on the Strategic Importance of Transmission and Other Energy Infrastructure (July 2012) emphasised the importance of early transparent engagement and consultation with local communities and stakeholders by developers of large infrastructure projects.

I am aware that EirGrid is committed to public consultation and that they have been engaging in a comprehensive process in regard to the Grid Link project. EirGrid's consultations have involved opening five regional information centres, a lo-call project information telephone line (1890 422 122), local radio advertising, and national and local print advertising. I understand that thirty-three open days were held within the project area over the last 16 months and that since autumn 2012 the Grid Link Project team has visited marts, shopping centres and agricultural shows, attending over 120 events to date where thousands of stakeholders have engaged with the team. I am also aware that the project team briefs and updates County Councils, Town Councils, Chambers of Commerce and other local organisations and national and local politicians regularly and have done so since the launch of the project in April 2012.

I understand the company welcomes observations and views in relation to the Grid Link Project which is still at an early stage. The identification of route corridor options is a key opportunity for public input given that the decision regarding the final route of this electricity line is yet to be made. I would encourage members of the public and stakeholders to participate in the consultation process, as such participation makes for better project implementation overall.