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Matthews calls for ESB to ensure SACs are protected

Date: 13 January 2022

Deputy Steven Matthews has called for the ESB to ensure that every effort is made to ensure that special areas of conservation (SAC) are protected when both routine and emergency maintenance works are carried out in these locations. Discussing his concerns, Deputy Matthews said:

“This is an issue that has come up in recent years, usually after heavy winds and storms that have caused power outages in various parts of Wicklow. Most recently it was brought to my attention by residents in Knocksink following Storm Barra in relation to damage that was done to trees and other biodiversity in a SAC when repair works were carried out to restore power in the surrounding area.

“The ESB outlined that they do have policies with regards to working in these unique areas and that as much as possible, the local landscape and biodiversity are left undamaged. They also cited specific projects they have engaged in that were designed to ensure that various animal and plant life went undisturbed. While this is welcome, it’s equally if not more important that these policies are acted upon in practice, while still repairing faults as quickly as possible for their customers.

“I fully appreciate that the main objective of the ESB in these circumstances is to return power to residents and businesses in the impacted areas as quickly as possible but in my recent correspondence to them I have asked that due care is given and that their own policies with regards to working in SACs are followed.

“These are some of the most beautiful areas that are naturally rich in biodiversity in the country and must be treated with care and left in good condition. I look forward to engaging with the ESB and Wicklow County Council further about this issue and I would ask that any residents who have concerns with regards to any sort of repair of construction work being carried out in SACs, to get in touch with me and I will offer any support I can, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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