A member of Mayo County Council has claimed that areas designated as special areas of conservation got preferential treatment over the welfare of residents in the selection of the EirGrid West route across the county.
Councillor Seamus Weir has submitted his concerns in writing to the promoters and is seeking a debate at next Monday’s meeting of the council.
He said: “The route crosses over many small farm holdings and this will have its impact on the farming community.
“It will led to devaluation of properties and there are safety issues of high voltage at close proximity to these properties. “While the project encourages investment and job creation, it should not come at the expense of a local community and its livelihood.”
Another elected member of the council, Councillor Gerry Murray, said people living along the preferred route should demand that the lines be put underground when coming close to houses, schools and built up areas.
The Sinn Féin represe ntative said such power lines in Germany and Austria are forced to go underground when close to such communities.
The chosen one kilometre wide corridor will accommodate 400kv lines from Moygownagh in north Mayo right across to Flagford substation outside Carrick-on-Shannon.
The development is deemed critical infrastructure and, as a result, the planning application goes directly to An Bord Pleanála.
Meanwhile, Coillte, the forestry agency, has applied to An Bord Pleanála seeking permission to erect a large windfarm in the Cluddaun area of north Mayo, about 5 km. from Moygownagh.
Coillte proposes to erect 48 wind turbines with an electricity generating capacity up to a maximum of 150 megawatts.
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