Gas pressure relieving chimney stacks to be erected in built up parts of Portlaoise and Portarlington.
Gas Networks Ireland has obtained planning permission from Laois County Council for four 3 metre high stacks and overground equipment to reduce operating pressure in the local gas supply.
So-called District Regulating Installations are being installed at locations on Colliers Lane, James Fintan Lalor and Coote Street in Portlaoise and a similar facility French Church St, Portarlington.
Gas Networks told Laois County Council that it is required to reduce the operating pressure from medium to low at some installations.
The equipment is being installed to comply with the Atex EU workplace directives. According to Gas Networks, these cover 'what equipment and work environment is allowed in an environment with a potentially explosive atmosphere'.
Gas Networks told Laois County Council that, in the event of over pressure, a relief valve in the stacks and related equipment releases gas into the atmosphere to reduce pressure in the system.
It says there will be no gas in the pressure relief vent stacks if there is no release. It adds that the stacks are 3 metres in height so that they will not overlap with pedestrians.
The company, which is part of Ervia that runs Irish water, says there would be no continuous odour associated with venting because of its infrequency and minimal amount of gas released.
As for fire risk, Gas Networks told the council that there are no fire safety issues associated with venting because of its infrequency and minimal amount. The company says that unit is also designed to disperse gas at a much lower rate than what is needed for ignition.