§ Mr. Eric Clarke
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has made to the Secretary of State for Scotland on his ruling pertaining to the proposed electricity interconnector, between Scotland and Northern Ireland and the economic effects of cancellation of this project. 
§ Mr. Ancram
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on 21 November 1996 that he was minded to grant approval for the Scottish leg of the proposed electricity interconnector subject to certain sections of the line being placed underground. Before reaching a decision, he invited representations on how a requirement of undergrounding would affect the viability of the project. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State, in responding to the invitation for written comments, reiterated the strategic importance of interconnection for the development of a competitive and efficient electricity sector in Northern Ireland.