An Taisce’s submission to Eirgrid’s Gridlink - Consultation on the Stage 1 Report

An Taisce today calls on the Government to produce a national energy policy that clearly outlines how the energy requirements of future generations can be met in the face of climate change. Further, the lack of national legislation, policy or guidelines for the European Landscape Convention means there is no basis on which to assess the impact of the project on the landscape.

Lack of National Energy Policy

It is only possible to assess the requirements for projects such as Eirgrid’s Gridlink against a national energy policy that outlines how the energy requirements of the future generations can be met in the face of climate change. In order to meet climate change commitments, Ireland must reduce energy demand through increased efficiency and must decarbonise its power production. A National Energy Savings Scheme to reduce demand and move away from coal and peat use will alter the parameters of the Grid Link Project and could reduce the requirement for pylons.

An Taisce calls for a number of key elements to be included in the national energy policy:

Reducing Primary Energy Demand - retrofitting the national building stock for energy efficiency with an annual target of 100,000 homes to be upgraded to best achievable international standards; Eliminating the most carbon intensive energy sources – ending the use of coal and peat for electricity generation and domestic heating; and Reducing Fossil Fuel Import Dependence - progressively reducing the current level of Irish fossil and biofuel import bill of 6.5 billion euro per annum, and integrating any future wind renewable energy export with this objective.

European Landscape Convention

Under the European Landscape Convention, it not enough to consider landscapes which are simply outstanding or beautiful as, the ELC does not stick to the traditional methods of protectionism; rather, it sets a requirement to survey, record and understand the everyday landscape.

No national legislation, policy or guidelines have been produced by the State to respond to the ELC. Whereas local authorities have placed certain designations on landscapes as a result of Section 204 of the Planning & Development Act 2000, as amended, this is discretionary and largely fragmented across councils, often with the subjective influences of vested interests instead of the public interest, and in the interest of complying with the ELC.

The State has failed to set a clear methodology for how landscape should be assessed, protected and managed. With no more than vague policies, and lacking legislative tools, it is difficult to guide the process. With the failure to comply with the ELC, there is no basis to assess the impact of the proposal on the landscape.


For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995

email: [email protected]

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland