Environment study required

The plan for a big electricity substation in Laois has hit its first planning hurdle in the shape of a requirement for a substantial report on how the project will affect the environment.

The plan for a big electricity substation in Laois has hit its first planning hurdle in the shape of a requirement for a substantial report on how the project will affect the environment.

Eirgrid, the State Company planning the project, have been requested by An Bord Pleanala to include an environmental impact statement (EIS) in their planning application for the Laois Kilkenny Reinforcement Project.

In a statement to the Leinster Express Eirgrid stated that an EIS was not initially required by An Bord Pleanala for the planning application.

“During the course of pre-application consultation meetings, held prior to the submission of the planning application, Eirgrid had sought the preliminary view of An Bord Pleanala as to whether or not an Environmental Impact Statement was required. The preliminary view was that an Environmental Impact Statement was not required for the proposed development application and consequently an Environmental Report was submitted”.

They added that An Bord Pleanala have the “right to request” further information.

“Eirgrid are happy to comply with this request and will endeavour to provide this information as promptly as possible. An Bord Pleanála have requested that this information be provided within 12 weeks (by July 22).

Speaking to the Leinster Express, chairman of the Ratheniska Timahoe Spink Substation Action Group, John Lowry said that the group were not surprised to hear this development.

“We were aware that they hadn’t done an EIS and would have to do one. It was needed and they should have done one before it went to planning - it would have been part of the process for planning”.

Mr Lowry said that it is still early days and the group have not yet heard anything on the planning application.

“We welcome what the planners did do with this. They are looking at following the proper process. It seems a short period in which to complete an EIS on a project of this magnitude and it will probably delay the planning process,” he added.