THE Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is hosting a four-week public consultation in relation to the North South Interconnector project.
The consultation gives members of the public the opportunity to view and submit feedback on updated environmental information, which was provided to DfI by SONI in July 2019.
In January 2018, following an extensive planning process, the Department for Infrastructure granted planning approval for the North South Interconnector.
In the absence of the Stormont Executive, the project was approved by a senior civil servant. However, a legal challenge to a separate project resulted in the courts finding that major applications should only have been decided by a Minister.
Since then legislation has been passed empowering civil servants to make strategic decisions.
The ‘Further Environmental Information 2019 addendum’ document has been provided to the Department for Infrastructure as part of the planning process for the North South Interconnector.
SONI has presented a number of detailed technical environmental assessments in the addendum, dealing with issues such as ecology, the local landscape, the local community, transport and socio-economic impacts.
The report, which is now being considered by DfI, has concluded that there is no change to the environmental information previously submitted by SONI.
Jo Aston, Managing Director at SONI said: “We remain committed to seeing this project, so important to Northern Ireland, become a reality.
“We are hopeful the submission of this further information, will enable the Department for Infrastructure to work towards a fresh planning decision in the coming months.
“I would encourage everyone with an interest in the project to participate in the DfI’s consultation process and provide any feedback they have.
“The North South Interconnector remains the most important infrastructure project for Northern Ireland. When delivered, it will support decarbonisation, reduce the cost of wholesale electricity and will help Northern Ireland achieve a secure supply of electricity.
“All of this is will be of real benefit to electricity consumers – which is why the project needs to progress.”