Electricity company Eirgrid forced to restore land at multi-million power site in Laois

Deal agreed with Laois County Council after State-owned company side-stepped planning laws

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

EirGrid is to remove partially built pylons and restore lands in Laois to its orginal agricultural state after being forced to stop work on a €110 million project because it had no permission for the preparatory work carried out.

The Leinster Express understands that EirGrid and its partner ESB Networks agreed at a meeting with Laois County Council to restore lands at Coolnabacca to a state which existed prior to April/May this year. 

The companies pushed ahead with pylon and related work on land near the site of the planned multi-million electricity substation located in the Ratheniska Timahoe area without legally required planning clearance.

Holes were dug and filled with concrete to secure the base of a large pylon which the company said was needed temporarily while other work is carried out on the substation. A road was also laid. A large digger was deployed to carry out the work.

The company proceeded on the basis the the work was exempted from needing planing permission. However, they were forced to stop after Ratheniska, Timahoe, Spink Action Group blew the whistle on the work. Laois County Council stepped in to halt the project warning that a huge fine could result if work did not cease. 

EirGrid and ESB Networks later apologised for the carrying out the work without clearance.

The residents unsuccessfully fought the original project which is a key part of the €110 million Laois-Kilkenny reinforcement project. An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the substation but it appears not for the ancillary work.

An Bord Pleanála  also confirmed to the Leinster Express that it has appointed an inspector to examine a new application from EirGrid for the work that it now has to undo. The company applied on June 8 for permission to alter the original grant of permission for the work.

EirGrid says the entire project will ensure that the electricity network can meet the needs of all users, from homes to farms, and small businesses to industrial customers. 

See attached a gallery of some of the pictures take by residents of the work carried out by EirGrid without permission.