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DfI insists reconsideration of key electricity grid project will rely on new powers

Words: Roger Milne
Overhead powerlines / Shutterstock

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has confirmed that it will reconsider consent for the northern section of the north-south interconnector project in the light of the new powers and guidance for civil servants, which came into force late last year.

This move follows the decision to concede the legal challenge brought by a group of land owners to the original go-ahead for the scheme, taken in January 2018, in the absence of ministers at Stormont.

As a result, planning permission for the Northern Ireland section of the scheme has now been quashed.

The DfI said that continuing to contest the land owner’s case “would not be in the public interest”.

In a tweeted statement the department explained: “The application will return to the department for its consideration, and this will allow departmental officials to actively progress this high-profile application to a stage where it is once again ready for a decision to be made.

"At the point where a decision is ready to be made, and if there is a continued absence of ministers, the department will consider whether to issue a decision in accordance with the powers available to it at that time."

The Northern Ireland part of the £200 million project involves a 34-kilometre overhead power line stretching from Moy in County Tyrone to the Armagh border.

Image credit | Shutterstock