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Families fear cancer risk in power link-up

A NORTH Dublin residents group claim a high voltage electricity connector between Ireland and Britain will not be operated in accordance with its planning permission, the Commercial Court heard.

Rush Community Council Ltd has brought proceedings against Eirgrid over their concerns about the alleged association between a certain type of electromagnetic fields generated by high voltage power cables and childhood leukaemia.

The council claims that the interconnector will be operated in a manner which is not in compliance with its planning permission.

Eirgrid, in opposing the proceedings, has denied the council's claims. It submits that the interconnector will be operated in accordance with its planning conditions and that it will comply with international guidelines on electric and magnetic fields as reviewed by the World Health Organisation, the EU and the Irish Government.

Proposal

The proposed interconnector will connect the Irish power system to the electricity grid in Britain through undersea and underground cables. It is expected to have enough capacity to power supply to about 350,000 homes and is due to be completed later this year.

The case centres on the route of the interconnector and a section which comes to shore from under the seabed at North Beach in Rush to the Rogerstown estuary and will run close to residential areas in the town.

In its action, the council is seeking an order restraining Eirgrid Plc operating the proposed East-West interconnector in any manner which results in the creation of time varying magnetic fields.

It is also seeking declarations, including that if the interconnector creates a varying magnetic field, it is unauthorised development and that no current should be passed through the proposed power line as long as any time-varying magnetic field is generated.

Despite local concerns about health risks to people living in Rush, permission for the project was granted after an oral hearing.

Counsel said that prior to and during the hearing, Eirgrid had maintained that the direct current carried by the interconnector's cables will flow in only one direction and would only produce a static, or non-variable magnetic field.

hnews@herald.ie