Winter Spring 2010 Down District News now Online!

ENRIGHT DECLARES VICTORY IN THIS AONB CAMPAIGN!!!!

(see bottom for info on electrical pylons)

DOWN Councillor Cadogan Enright has welcomed the announcement at Tyrella Beach last Wednesday of a climb-down by the Department of the Environment on their proposed de-designation of the area between St.Johns Point and Dundrum Bay as “areas of outstanding natural beauty” (AONB’s).  Cadogan initiated the campaign to save the AONB a year ago and has been assisting local people in fighting the loss of the AONB status for the last 10 months.

Follow this link for more information! – Victory at Tyrella Beach!

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I  opposed serious errors in AONB designations on the East Down coast from the Department of the Environment, and initiated a vigourous campaign by local people that was ultimately successful.

These serious anomalies inclided the revocation of AONB status for Tyrella’s blue flag beach and Miners town’s wildlife beach. Qite astonishing. At the same time they were proposing that the car park at ASDA and McDonalds take-away in Downpatrick were proposed to be newly designated an AONB. This made no sense and has left many local people perplexed.

The iconic view from St. John’s point back towards the Mournes ranks with the Giants causeway as the gems of the environment and a tourism magnet in NI. Withdrawing AONB status for this area would have damaged our growing tourist industry, one of the few sustainable industries in the area that we have direct control over.

The AONB is designated by the Department based on landscape quality criteria. I welcomed the fact that the boundary had been extended around Strangford Lough as an indication that the landscape is of high quality. However local people could not  understand why the area between Dundrum Bay and Tyrella and adjacent farmland were omitted. This area had been improving since it last was designated under the old legislation.

Down District Council are introducing byelaws to manage the coast Minerstown area to protect wildlife. This area and it has been identified by them as an area suitable for the promotion of “green” tourism. The District Policing Partnership have also moved the boundaries of the PSNI’s areas of operation to enable them to police the byelaws introduced at Minerstown. It makes no sense that this are be excluded.

While being interviewed for the BBC on this issue I commented “As a public representative for the Lecale coast I am sure that I speak for an overwhelming majority of local people on this issue. The huge amount of work conducted by Down District Council to develop Minerstown as a centre for Green Tourism and the work down the years to get blue flag beach at Tyrella has created magnets of sustainable tourism development in South Down. To leave this area out of the designation is economic and environmental vandalism on the part of the Department of the Environment.”

To view my campaign on the AONB visit the following link which will take you to the AONB Campaigns category on our website – http://www.enright.ie/?cat=63

NIEA AONB Consultation can be viewed at www.ni-environment.gov.uk or obtained by by email at protectinglandscapes@doeni.gov.uk

Watch the BBC coverage of our campaign below.

BY Cllr Cadogan Enright, Green Party Downpatrick. 13th March 2010

REAL COST OF UNDERGROUNDING CABLES – THE FACTS

 NIE habitually overstate the cost of putting cables underground – in the document attached below NIE document they suggest that it is 10 times the cost – research below suggests that it should be no more than 1.6 times the cost – but more likely the same if 33kv cables are used.

If the onshore power lines/cables are to be 33kV, the cost differential between OHL and UGC would be very small, particularly if the section of onshore cable is limited to a few kilometres as it would be in Tyrella or Minerstown.  In the 2002 report, The Scope for Undergrounding Overhead Electricity Lines (published by CEED) a range of costs are shown. In one example (Claughton, Lancashire the cost differential was very small (£32k/km for overhead and £83k/km for underground). More recently, inquiries into proposed new wind farms in England have shown that the cost of connecting the farms to the grid at 33kV via cable are not significantly different from an Over Head Line (OHL).

It is possible that 110kV or even 132kV cables will be used in any windfarm development off the South Down Coast. According to information released recently by Eirgrid into the proposed 110kV line at Oranmore, the cost of cabling that particular line would be 3.25 times more than an OHL. These figures are not too different from those presented at the recent Beauty Denny Public Inquiry in Scotland. Although the 400kV line will be OHL, the TSO (SHETL) has agreed to underground sections of adjacent 132kV line. Two sections near Perth totalling 8.2km are estimated to cost around £1m/km and this compares to estimates of £300,000-£400,000/km for an OHL.

In Germany many offshore wind farms are being developed and legislation has been introduced that requires the Electricity Transmission Operators (TSOs) to put the associated onshore cables (which are mainly 110kV) underground within a 20km corridor from the coastline. The incremental costs can be passed on in grid fees provided the cost doesn’t exceed 1.6 times the OHL. In Germany most of the 20km of land is flat so cable installation should not be too complex or costly but the “1.6” factor took into consideration the comparable costs.

I am publishing this information to my website to refute in advance of any suggestion by NIE that undergrounding cables in an area of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and attach below typical examples of where the electricity regulator in England and in the Republic have undergrounded cables in response to concerns about the potential impact of rows of pylons on a sensitive environment.

Attachments to this web-page

Some of the Press Coverage on this campaign (to be scanned in and linked ASAP)