Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (395)

Sean Conlan


395. Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in view of the massive response to the Grid Link consultation, which received huge national media coverage, if 18 submissions in comparison to 36,000 was an adequate and acceptable level of public consultation with regard to the North-South interconnector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5245/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In the Government Policy Statement on the Strategic Importance of Transmission and Other Energy Infrastructure of July 2012, the imperative for the State Companies, and all developers of energy projects, of early, transparent engagement and consultation with local communities and stakeholder was emphasised. The Government also affirmed that EirGrid is obligated to adhere to all relevant guidelines and standards and that they act in the national interest, and on behalf of all electricity consumers. The Government has confidence that the forward planning process from the national planning framework of the National Spatial Strategy, to Regional Planning Guidelines and local development planning and the Strategic Infrastructure Act provides the necessary framework for ensuring that all necessary standards are met and that extensive statutory and non-statutory consultation are key to creating public confidence to this effect.With regard to the North-South transmission line, the Government does not determine the scale of submissions on any given project. However, the Government must be satisfied that the necessary framework is in place for ensuring that all necessary standards are met.

I am also advised that it was part of the opposition campaign to the North-South line that citizens were advised not to make written submissions in response to the public consultation. I am not aware of the impact of this advice.