Poots orders north-south interconnector probe

Electricity pylon A single overhead line would run over land in Tyrone and Armagh

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The environment minister has ordered a public inquiry into NIE's plans to erect a north-south electricity interconnector in County Tyrone.

The Planning Appeals Commission will now look at the proposal for a substation at Trewmount Road in Moy.

The plan includes a single overhead line which NIE has said would make it easier to transfer power to homes.

It has faced significant opposition on both sides of the border with public hearings held in County Monaghan.

NIE is working with southern company Eirgrid on the project.

Edwin Poots said a number of issues including public health and alternative technologies needed to be considered.

He added: "I have given the application careful consideration. I am of the opinion that the best way forward is to deal with the application through the public local inquiry process."

The minister's decision has been welcomed by members of the environment committee at the Assembly.

Its chair, Sinn Fein MLA Cathal Boylan, said the news would come as a relief to people in the affected areas.

"They will now have the opportunity make their serious concerns known directly to the Planning Appeals Commission," Mr Boylan said.

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