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Kildare County Council snubs minister over pylon policy

Words: Roger Milne

Members of Kildare County Council have snubbed an intervention by Ireland's environment minister Alan Kelly and voted in favour of a change to the county development plan which would require strict separation distances between homes and pylons.

Kelly’s department had written to the council directing that the proposed development plan variation – which reflects health concerns over proximity to overhead power lines - should be removed.

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, environment minister Kelly would have to consider "the use of the powers of ministerial direction".

Back in May the county council voted to re-open its development plan in order to address the issue of pylons on Eirgrid's Grid Link route proposals. The minister has a four week period to consider the variation as adopted, and decide what action to take.