Friday, 15 December 2006

Coolmore stud opposes animal waste facility

From Irish Times:

A planning application for a major new animal waste processing facility, which will process up to 250,000 tonnes of animal and organic waste a year into biodiesel, gas and fertiliser, is to be lodged with Tipperary South County Council later today.
In what is expected to be a long planning process, the proposed plant will be located at a controversial site of a disused rendering facility, which was also the location of an aborted attempt five years ago to build a meat and bonemeal incinerator.
The country's top stud farm group, Coolmore, is to object to the facility, which is being proposed close to its operations in south Tipperary. The site at Castleblake near Rosegreen between Cashel and Clonmel, is adjacent to Coolmore's Ballydoyle stables, which is operated by champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.
The development is being promoted by Green Organics Energy (GOE), a joint venture company owned by Dawn Meats, National Toll Roads subsidiary Bioverda, and National Byproducts owned by the Ronan family.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Coolmore, owned by millionaire businessman John Magnier, confirmed that Coolmore and Ballydoyle would be objecting to the facilities, but declined at this stage to comment on the details of the group's objections.
Coolmore and Ballydoyle combined with local activists to mount a successful campaign against a proposed incinerator for the site when it was granted planning permission in 2002.
National Byproducts, owned by the well-known local Ronan family, which operated a rendering facility at the site for 40 years, withdrew its proposals following a major publicity campaign and the instigation of a High Court case by Ballydoyle. Coolmore and Ballydoyle mounted the campaign because of concerns about the potential impact of the proposed incinerator on its stud farm and training operations.
The earlier campaign focused on the previous environmental record of the prior facility, which had been the subject of a number of prosecutions by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Yesterday, GOE said the proposed new plant would operate to strict standards laid down by the planning authorities and the EPA. If built, it will be one of the largest waste processing facilities in the country, and will process a similar amount of waste to that of an incinerator.
The plant will use a process of rendering to turn animal byproducts such as offal into biodiesel and other oils. A process of anaerobic digestion will also be used on a mixture of green waste and animal offal byproducts.
The resulting gas will be used to power a small electricity generation plant which will contribute 15 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. A further 20,000 tonnes of fertiliser will also be produced from the process.
John Mullins, speaking as the head of the GOE venture, said the Castleblake site had been chosen as it had "50 years' experience as an industrial site".
He said the whole process was aimed at generating products and energy from products that are now being incinerated.
Mr Mullins said local concerns about the facility were being taken on board and that the company had already undertaken wide consultation with local groups. "We've consulted with the local people, including politicians and the Coolmore interests as well," Mr Mullins said.
The Coolmore group is estimated to have a turnover in excess of €100 million. It is considered to be the most successful stud operations in the world, with its stallion Sadler's Wells having been champion sire on 14 separate occasions.

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