Eirgrid have announced an extension of time for public consultation for their grid plans in the south east, which affects parts of Laois.
The public now have until January 7 to make submissions on the €500 million Grid Link Project, which would link Leinster and Munster via new overhead lines, close to Rossmore and Killeshin in Laois.
“We are extending this third consultation period so that interested parties have plenty of time to have their say,” says Grid Link project manager John Lowry.
Eirgrid say the extra time will not delay the project, which will be submitted for planning in 2017.
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, is urging the public to make submissions.
“This is a welcome move as I raised this last week in the Dáil with Minister Rabbitte. The extension was needed as many people are only now becoming aware of the scale of the proposed project and I encourage people to make submissions before the new deadline.
Stanley says undergrounding is the ‘sensible’ solution for protecting heritage, landscape and farmers.
“Despite clearly expressed opposition of thousands of families living close to the proposed routes of the power lines and pylons, EirGrid remains fixed on its overhead approach to these projects.
Scenic areas such as Rossmore and Killeshin in Laois, which the local community and Laois County Council promote as a first class tourist destination, would be severely affected by the presence of these pylons and wires.” he says.
Meanwhile the Heritage Council say the cumulative effect of pylons and wind turbines must be considered in the government’s guidelines.
“The relationship between proposed wind farms and existing grid infrastructure is a key aspect of planning which impacts on Ireland’s heritage. Many issues arising in wind turbines can equally be applied to pylons,” they says.
They warn of a repeat of planning mistakes.
“In this generation we have already allowed development outpace the capacity to properly plan for it. We are in danger of repeating that mistake,”
The Heritage Council say a lack of staff trained in wind energy in government and local authorities “exacerbates the situation still further”.
See potential routes at www.eirgridprojects.com/