What can I do to help?
Make a submission to Eirgrid on their draft Grid Development strategy. The deadline is Friday 22 May 2015 (NB Now extended to Friday, June 5th). The eiropinion website has worked through the draft Grid Development Strategy and has created a Word document that can be used as a detailed template submission and only needs your name, address and email address on the first page.
The submission template is here
You can then send the document as an attachment to:
What are the health risks?
Overhead cables give off electromagnetic fields. An electromagnetic field (also EMF or EM field) is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behaviour of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. The EMFs given off by these overhead cables are proven cancer risks. People living in close proximity are at increased risk of childhood leukaemia.
A significant body of research over the years has been performed in relation to the health effects of electric and magnetic fields associated with extra high voltage lines. Current scientific data now confirms that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) above 0.4 microteslas increases the risk of leukaemia, particularly for children. An EU study (Feb 2015) on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has once again confirmed a link between EMF exposures above a certain limit and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia. The report re-confirms a two-fold risk increase when exposure is above 0.3 – 0.4 microtesla (μT)
In February 2015 Environment 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. The proposal was a protection from any cancer risks associated with electro-magnetic fields from high voltage pylon and. Reflected standard practice in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
How big are the pylons?
Overhead lines need pylons. Theses 43meter tall pylons are approximately the same height as a 13 storey building. The pylons will be spaced between 200mtrs and 300mtrs or three massive pylons per kilometre.
What will be the visual impact and landscape?
A major blot on our landscape and harmful adverse effects on to our wildlife e.g. can affect migrating birds and have negative impact on bees.
What is the noise like from the cables/pylons?
Eirgrid admit that the pylons emit a constant humming or a buzzing noise. This noise has been compared to the noise of a car engine drive up a steep hill 24hrs a day.
What affect will it have on agriculture and property?
The imposition of pylons, as well as affecting health and the environment, will also impact negatively on agriculture, the equine industry, tourism, the landscape, our natural heritage (archectural and cultural), local business and devalue land and property.
Independent studies show losses/devaluation in property values of between 30% and 70%. This is also significant if the pylons are in your sight line. There are also significant impacts for livestock and the equine industry. Pylons also cause a nuisance factor to farmers having to constantly work around them.
What about the significant contribution of the equine industry to the Irish economy?
Ireland is a world leader in thoroughbred breeding in an industry worth €1.2 Billion to the Irish economy. The sector employs 14,000 directly. Ireland is also the world leading studbook for eventing horses to the value of €700m employing 12,500. Indirect jobs are estimated to be in excess of 40,000. As it is an export-driven industry it attracts very significant Foreign Direct Investment into rural economies. The sector continues to voice its concerns regarding EirGrid’s ill though-out pylon plans.
Can we stop them?
Yes! The Irish government commissioned an independent expert report into undergrounding in 2011 it states undergrounding HVDC cables is a feasible option. It is a technology that is moving very fast, and becoming cheaper.