Cllr Ray Butler.

Butler believes undergrounding EirGrid cables is best way to go

Fine Gael Meath West candidate Cllr Ray Butler has said he fully supports the undergrounding of the Eirgrid electricity cables. He said that as someone who had attended the meetings of the North-East Pylon Pressure Group (NEPP), his position was very clear. "In France, they are now undergrounding cables rather than using pylons. I understand that undergrounding costs more than pylons but I do not agree with the suggested costs put forward by EirGrid. I think at present EirGrid should cease any work and go back to the drawing board and prepare new plans and this time, get them right," he said. It was an immensely costly exercise and a waste of time to go to An Bord Pleanala hearing with the wrong information, said Cllr Butler. He added that there should be a full analysis of the plans and the proposals and that NEPP should be awarded costs as a result of An Bord Pleanala not continuing with the oral hearing. "There are particularly serious and genuine fears among many people about the potential harm these giant electricity pylons could do, not only to human and animal health but also the impact they will have on the environment, farming, heritage, tourism and the rural way of life. This country needs to secure reliable power supplies, particularly at a time of energy and economic uncertainty, but undergrounding the cables is a viable alternative," declared Cllr Butler. He is calling for all high voltage overhead lines and pylons to be placed underground for the betterment of people's health, the environment and the landscape of the region. Cllr Butler suggested that the cables should be undergrounded beside the Navan rail link and "feels that there was a lost opportunity to place the cables underground beside the M3". He is also calling for continuation of work on the Navan rail line. "With increasing fuel costs, the provision of a reliable public transport system is important. Car-based commuters in Meath are anxious for this rail line to get up and running so that they can make the choice to leave their car at home when commuting to work each day. The railway extension to Navan would take thousands of cars off the road upon its completion. The rail line would also prove infrastructure for the development of industry and the creation of employment opportunities in the area," he added.