North-south interconnector public inquiry to restart in June

The north-south interconnector is proposed to connect the electricity grids between Tyrone and Cavan

A PUBLIC inquiry into proposals for a new north-south interconnector is set to begin in Armagh in June.

A restart date of June 21 has been confirmed for the long-awaited inquiry by the Public Appeals Commission (PAC).

Plans for the interconnector have been dogged by controversy due to local objectors that complain it will be a blot on the landscape and could pose a risk to health.

However, the System Operator for Northern Ireland (Soni) which runs the electricity grid, say it is imperative to ensuring the future security of the north's energy network.

The interconnector, if given the go ahead, will see a series of overhead cables running from just north of Moy, Co Tyrone to Kingscourt, Co Cavan.

A public inquiry was first announced as far back as 2010. But it was adjourned in 2012 shortly after opening due to the plans and environmental statement not being properly advertised by previous applicant Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE).

Soni - which took over as applicant in 2014 - said it had been notified by the PAC proceedings were set to recommence and take place in Armagh City Hotel.

Soni's general manager Robin McCormick said the interconnector was "a critical piece of infrastructure, essential for a secure supply of electricity for Northern Ireland".

"It will also significantly reduce the cost of electricity for consumers across the entire island and will allow us to increase our use of renewable energy, reducing Northern Ireland’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Soni has worked tirelessly to progress the planning application to make these benefits a reality," he said.

Eirgrid is behind the portion of the interconnector in the Republic and an oral hearing into its application is due to take place this month.

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