Govt Policy Statement Published On The Importance Of Energy Infrastructure
|The Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte TD, today published a Government Policy Statement on the importance of Energy Infrastructure.
Speaking in the DŠil, Minister Rabbitte said: "The Government reaffirms, the imperative need for development and renewal of our energy networks, in order to meet both economic and social policy goals. To this end I am publishing a formal Government Policy statement on the subject. This statement was agreed at a Cabinet meeting and will be circulated to all stakeholders. Local Government planning authorities and An Bord PleanŠla will be required to have regard to this policy from now on."
The Minister was responding to a debate about the plans for the North South Electricity Interconnector. He told the DŠil that the Government had considered the report of the International Expert Commission which had been asked to review the case for, and cost of, undergrounding all or part of the project and had also noted the views of the Oireachtas Committee which had considered the expert commissionís report. "The matter should immediately return to planning in order to meet the delivery date of 2017," he said.
The key elements of the Government policy Statement are as follows:
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The Government affirms the imperative need for development and renewal of our energy networks, in order to meet both economic and social policy goals. The planning process provides the necessary framework for ensuring that all necessary standards are met and that comprehensive statutory and non-statutory consultation is built into the process.
We acknowledge the need for social acceptance and the appropriateness of exploring ways of building community gain considerations into project planning and budgeting. Delivering long lasting benefits to communities is an important way of achieving public acceptability for infrastructure.
The State network companies are mandated to plan their developments in a safe efficient and economic manner. They are also required to address and mitigate human, environmental and landscape impacts, in delivering the best possible engineering solutions.
The major investment underway in the high voltage electricity transmission system under EirGrid's Grid 25 Programme is the most important such investment in Irelandís transmission system for several generations.
While the Government does not seek to direct infrastructure developers to particular sites or routes or technologies, the Government endorses, supports and promotes the strategic programmes of the energy infrastructure providers, particularly EirGridís Grid 25 investment programme across the regions, and reaffirms that it is Government policy and in the national interest, not least in the current economic circumstances, that these investment programmes are delivered in the most cost efficient and timely way possible, on the basis of the best available knowledge and informed engagement on the impacts and the costs of different engineering solutions.
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