EirGrid has announced details of its new approach to consultation arising from a comprehensive review of its existing consultation process for grid development projects.
The review of the process highlighted the importance of engagement with the public and with communities directly impacted by new grid projects. EirGrid has found that changes are required to improve the process for future engagement to ensure that it is in line with international best practice.
Some of the improvements announced on 6 December included a move to a more community-focused approach when developing electricity projects, a change to the organisation culture in order to develop stronger relationships with communities and stakeholders and a focus on support from the state to better explain important energy issues to all.
EirGrid has set out a timeline for the implementation of all of the commitments, the majority of which will be implemented within the next six months, and will keep the approach to consultation under constant review to ensure that it meets expectations.
Fintan Slye, chief executive of EirGrid, spoke of the need to ‘restore trust and enable greater participation’ as part of its public consultation process.
“The commitments require a change within EirGrid, and we're fully committed to achieving this as quickly as possible. We believe this is critical if we're to deliver the grid, on behalf of all electricity users, to meet the needs of people, communities, businesses, the economy and society overall now and in the future,” he said.
The public will be given the opportunity to comment on the approach until the 30th of January 2015. Details of how to comment are available here.