Environment and Biodiversity

Respect for the environment is central to our work. We mitigate environmental effects on our plans and projects. We create and enhance habitats.

Environmental Assessments

Environmental assessment is a key part of our grid development plans and projects.

We have published guidelines for the industry to assess and mitigate impacts of transmission projects on ecology and cultural heritage. 

We have also published studies on how the electricity grid interacts with the natural and human environment. 

Appropriate Assessment of European Projects

The Appropriate Assessment (AA) process is required under the EU Habitats Directive. Appropriate Assessment assesses the potential adverse effects of a plan or project. They make sure nature conservation sites are protected from development. AA Screening determines if Appropriate Assessment is required.

EirGrid is the decision-making body for AA Screening for projects which do not require planning permission. Our ecological experts assess the nature, scale and duration of effects from all projects on European sites.

Our assessment includes construction and operation stages of a project. It also considers temporary work, such as construction compounds and machinery access routes. We consider both:

  • The potential effects on nature conservation sites from the project
  • Any effects caused by interactions with other plans or projects

EirGrid’s AA Screening of a project has two outcomes: 

AA Required

If AA is required, projects which don't require planning permission lose their exempted status. In this case, we say a project has been ‘screened in’ for AA. Under this scenario, we seek planning permission for the project from the relevant planning authority. 

AA Not Required

If AA is not required, we document the assessment findings and publish an AA Screening determination. See the AA screening determinations for projects not requiring planning permission. 

Environmental Assessment of EirGrid Projects

Our projects vary greatly, from simple repairs to new infrastructure. We screen all projects for Appropriate Assessment, regardless of scale. For projects which require planning permission, we identify and mitigate environmental impacts to:

  • Built and natural heritage
  • Water
  • Landscape
  • Human receptors (including noise land use changes)

This is reported in either 'Planning and Environmental Considerations Reports' (PECR) or 'Environmental Impact Assessment Reports' (EIAR). 

Planning and Environmental Considerations Reports (PECR)

PECRs give an overview of the main planning and environmental considerations for a project. These reports are submitted as part of planning applications to local authorities. Find all project-specific environmental reports on the relevant planning authority websites. 

Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (EIAR)

Depending on legal requirements, we produce EIARs for certain new infrastructure projects. An Bord Pleanála decide if certain projects are of strategic national importance. For these projects, we have a unique project website for planning documentation. 

 Environmental Assessment of Grid Plans

Every 5 years, our grid plans policies go through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA). At the same time, we carry out Appropriate Assessment. We integrate feedback from state and other agencies and the public when we scope the SEA, on the draft plan and on SEA reporting. 

Every year, we produce Transmission Development Plans (TDP) to record changes to the 5 year plan. We consult our regulator CRU on every TDP. The CRU then publishes the draft plan for public consultation on their website. We also review these TDPs for Strategic Environmental Effects.

Current SEA

The SEA of our new Grid Implementation Plan 2023-2028 has started. We completed the SEA scoping consultation exercise in December 2022 and January 2023. All submissions are available to view on our consultation portal.

Recommendations for better environmental practices emerged from SEA Monitoring of our previous plan. We are integrating these into our ongoing SEA process. We are currently drafting an Environmental Report. We will publish this with the draft Implementation Plan during 2023.

Previous Projects