SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has responsibility for planning and operating the electricity grid, this includes achieving planning permission for the North South Interconnector.
We are committed to delivering the North South Interconnector project and will be seeking a re-determination on the planning applications by the Department for Infrastructure.
It should be noted that the planning applications met all policy requirements and were approved in January 2018 by the DFI Permanent Secretary, after a thorough planning process, which included a Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) Public Inquiry.
Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) said:
“We acknowledge the DFI’s decision to concede to the legal challenge. This follows the Court of Appeal’s decision in relation to the Department’s approval for a proposed incinerator, and is based entirely on the fact that planning approval for the Interconnector was granted in the absence of an Infrastructure Minister.
“SONI’s planning applications met all policy requirements and were approved after a thorough planning and consultation process, which included an independent Planning Appeals Commission Public Inquiry.
“With the introduction of new legislation, by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in November 2018, which empowers Permanent Secretaries to take key decisions, we are hopeful that the planning applications can be re-determined by DfI without delay.
“The North South Interconnector remains the most important infrastructure project in Northern 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.
“It is because of these benefits that the project is so widely supported by consumer representative bodies, business and industry and policy makers in Northern Ireland.
“We will continue to work with local communities, landowners and all of our stakeholders, to ensure that the North South Interconnector is delivered as soon as possible.”