LAOIS County Manager, Peter Carey has defended the decision of county councillors to omit a policy which requires all new power lines over 400kv to be placed underground from the county development plan.
In a letter Mr Carey told residents of the Ratheniska Timahoe Spink substation action group that he would not be meeting with them to discuss why councillors voted to drop their own policy.
“The best legal advice was sought within the timeframe allowable under the challenge brought to the county development plan 2012 - 2017 ensuring value for money at all times,” he said in the letter.
Mr Carey also wrote that he was aware of the concerns and issues raised by the residents, but he did not believe he should meet with them again.
“Since this proposed development will be under the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006, the planning authority dealing with this issue is An Bord Pleanala.
“Therefore there is no purpose for a further meeting,” he said.
Mr Carey issued a further statement to the Leinster Express reiterating the council’s stance.
“I met the action group previously and senior planning staff have also met with them at each of the public consultation evenings for the county development plan.
“We have now met with the group at official level on at least four occasions through 2009, 2010 and 2011”.
Mr Carey said that at each of these meetings the group have expressed their issues and concerns.
He said that they also notified the council about their issues through written submissions to the county development plan.
“We have explained on each occasion that the proposed development by Eirgrid will be under the Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006 and as such it will be sent directly to An Bord Pleanala for decision.
“As Laois County Council will not be the Planning Authority issuing the decision on the proposed development I do not feel that there is any need for a further meeting at this stage,” he said.