Thursday 22 March 2018

Minister Kelly's directive on pylons rejected in vote

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

Members of Kildare County Council have rejected a directive by Environment Minister Alan Kelly, by voting in favour strict separation distances between homes and pylons.

The minister was criticised after it emerged his department had directed the council to remove a provision in a variation to the County Development Plan, which sought to impose the minimum distances.

The department said that it was a statutory consultee on development plans or proposed variations, and that some proposals were "contrary to national policy."

Before the vote, council members were informed that if they chose to ignore the department's directive, Mr Kelly would have to consider "the use of the powers of ministerial direction".

But Fine Gael Councillor Ivan Keatley said that the vote was "comprehensive" with almost a two-thirds majority.

"That is an endorsement for just how big of an issue this is and how worried the people of Kildare are in terms of the health effects."

Kildare County Council voted to re-open their County Development Plan in May, to address the issue of pylons on Eirgrid's Grid Link route.

A spokesman for Grid Link Action Group said the councillors had "acted in the best interests of the people of Kildare."

However, the minister will now have four weeks to consider the variation as adopted, and decide on his next step.

Irish Independent

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