Planning permission for the Northern Ireland section of the controversial North South Interconnnector has been effectively quashed following a legal challenge in the north.
A group of landowners in Northern Ireland had challenged the approval of a new £200m cross-border electricity line claiming that a senior civil servant wrongly agreed to the scheme in the absence of a minister or a functioning executive at Stormont.
The northern Department for Infrastructure conceded the legal challenge.
However, Eirgrid who are responsible for the development in the republic says this has no bearing on the southern part of the project and pointed out that their northern colleagues expected to be successful in a fresh planning application.
David Martin EirGrid spokesperson said: “This decision applies to the section of the project falling within Northern Ireland, and has no bearing on the status of the planning consent achieved in Ireland. That consent remains valid and we are expecting a final decision from the Irish Supreme Court in the coming weeks which if positive, will allow the project to proceed to construction.
“With the introduction of new legislation in Northern Ireland since the Interconnector was awarded planning approval by the Department in January 2018, our colleagues at SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) are hopeful that the planning application can be re-determined without delay.
“The Interconnector remains the most important infrastructure project on the island of Ireland. When in place it will result in significant savings for consumers, and will help to achieve long-term security of supply. It will also allow for increased levels of renewable energy on the system.
“We will continue to work with the community, landowners and all of our stakeholders, to ensure the North South Interconnector is delivered as soon as possible,” he said.