Kilworth urges Eirgrid to underground option
The following is a submission made by Kilworth Community Council to Eirgrid expressing their fears, concerns and objections re the Gridlink project:
"We are writing to you as elected representatives of the people of Kilworth and we refer specifically to the proposed development of Pylons. We held a public meeting in Kilworth last Thursday which was attended by over 200 people and we have been requested to write to you to express our concerns. The corridor most affecting our community is K3, K6 and K19. Whereas we understand the necessity to develop the infrastructure for the benefit of the country at large, we are strongly opposed to the construction of overground pylons for a number of specific reasons:
• Our community lives in the Blackwater Valley which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The proposed pylons are going across the valley. These are permanent structures and if they are erected, they will have long term consequences for the development of tourism and recreational activities for generations to come. We urge you to consider this project over say 200 years. This will be long after you or I live. What will the economic cost to tourism be? There is no doubt that if these are constructed, they will never be taken down. We live in a 'Special Area of Conservation' and is designated as such by the European Community. Farmers in the Kilworth area who operate in the Blackwater Valley are prevented by wildlife officers from carrying out any drainage or other works on their land. This is due to the possible impact such work would have on wildlife. In particular, our area is a sanctuary to the Hooper Swan and other species which are protected. It therefore makes no sense that pylons could be constructed in such an area and at the same time, farmers are prevented from simply filling waterlogged holes as it would impact on the swans. There is just no comparison to the level of damage that pylons would do.
• The proposed corridor also crosses Careysville and the Blackwater River which is one of the best known salmon fishing areas in Europe. This area has been fished by many visitors and even celebrities over the years and if pylons are constructed in the Kilworth area, there is no doubt in our minds that the impact on this will be severe. The proposed pylons will also have a large impact in the long term for the development of tourism and fishing in the entire valley for generations to come. The attraction to the Blackwater Valley and to the country as a whole, is the unspoiled nature of our landscape. Pylons are a symbol of high intensity industrial development and this image simply does not fit in with areas of natural beauty such as the Blackwater Valley.
• Many people at our meeting expressed concerns on 'health' grounds. Whereas Eirgrid will deny any link between high voltage power lines and health issues such as cancer, how can you be sure that they do not exist and how sure can you be that no such link will be found in the future? The answer of course is that you cannot be sure so how can you justify the risk? Any of the corridors suggested will impact on thousands of people and you have a responsibility to these people and to the future generations to protect them as best you can. These people of course also need electricity and from a commercial point of view, you must also balance this responsibility. I think it is fair to say that people will place health and the health of their children and their children’s children as a priority, regardless of the cost of electricity.
• It goes without saying that property will be devalued as a result of pylons running through an area and people across the country that are affected by these must be compensated for their loss. When the road network was being constructed, land owners and property owners were compensated when it affected them. They were compensated for disturbance, loss of income and devaluation as well as many other items. Power lines of such high voltage will certainly have an impact on property and you must honestly ask yourself if you would choose to live near one if you had a choice. The answer is of course no. We suspect that the cost of constructing pylons overground does not take into consideration the cost of compensating individuals for property devaluation. If you had to do this, would the cost of placing the infrastructure underground be significantly different?
The general consensus from our meeting was that people from our community recognise the importance of developing a robust electricity network but all of the costs associated must be taken into account. One cannot simply look at the cost of construction as there are longer term implications which are equally as important such as how we want our countryside to look for the next 200 years. We have a social responsibility to look after our countryside for the generations to come. We are totally against constructing the pylons in an area of such outstanding natural beauty and we strongly urge you to look at the option of placing the network underground. We understand that the technology exists to do this as it has been done in other countries .
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter in writing.
Kilworth Community Council
Thursday 19th December 6:51pm