According to the inspector’s report from An Bord Pleanala regarding Eirgrid’s planning application, most of the objections raised against the proposed development, both in the written submissions and during the course of the oral hearing “have been overstated”.
In his report to An Bord Pleanala, inspector Andrew Boyle stated that “while there are clearly genuine concerns in relation to visual impact, risk of contamination of local water supply and electromagnetic radiation, it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that a fear of what might be facilitated by the proposed Coolnabacky substation has been a prime driver behind the objections to this application”.
He said that it was understandable that a connection had been made between the proposal and windfarms, but stated that these are not permitted developments which if granted planning permission, would still be dependent on receiving a connection authorisation from the Commission for Energy Regulation.
The inspector’s report also stated that the substation at Coolnabacky can be constructed without undue risk to local groundwater sources.
“The development could be carried out and operated satisfactorily from an ecological standpoint. The new parts of the power line have been aligned to avoid housing, as far as practical. For the most part, the proposed development would be comfortably within the widely accepted international standards in relation to electromagnetic radiation”.
The report did have some concerns regarding the upgrading of the existing power line between Kilkenny and Ballyragget.
“It appears that several houses in the vicinity of this power line would be subject to magnetic field exposure at a level which could give rise to an increased risk of childhood leukaemia”.
The full report can be viewed on the An Bord Pleanala website.