Press Release 6 March 2015

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6 March 2015                    GRID LINK ACTION GROUP                                        PRESS RELEASE

Environment Minister Kelly commits to nationwide pylon policy 

Decision will impact on all residents along GridLink route

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has committed to introducing national planning guidelines for the construction of pylons and has stated that he will initiate the process following publication of the Government-commissioned review of the health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), which is due at the end of March.

The Minister made the announcement at a meeting with the Kildare-based Grid Link Action group.

Grid Link Action spokesperson, Kieran Connors said today, “We welcome the Minister’s commitment to introduce national planning guidelines for transmission infrastructure.  What we need now is a clear timeline for the new pylon guidelines, an open and detailed public consultation process and a moratorium on any EirGrid submissions to An Bord Pleanala until their introduction.”

Earlier this month Minister Kelly’s department used its power of veto under the planning acts to remove a Kildare County Development Plan proposal which set down minimum pylon distances from homes.  This proposal, supported by campaigners, residents, and councillors, and which is standard practice in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, ensured that Kildare residents were protected from any cancer risks associated with the electro-magnetic fields from high voltage pylons.

Mr Connors explained, “Minister Kelly claimed that he was removing the pylon health protection as the proposal did not comply with national policy.  Our question to the Minister was – what is national policy?  The Minister accepted that Kildare County Council has acted in good faith in the absence of any national guidelines.

Mr Connors also pointed out that Ireland has not legislated for Electro Magnetic Field exposure limits. The Minister’s department recommends the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines. Yet ICNIRP standards have not been updated in line with recent research and have never been transposed into Irish law.   Currently the coalition government is opting for some of the weakest protection levels in Europe.”

Information

Kieran Connors GAG                                                         087 241 1203
Steve Rawson Press                                                          087 235 7551

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