Tuesday 17 July 2007

Biomass firm refused planning for €75m plant

A MONAGHAN company’s plans to build a €75 million biomass plant, that could have supplied 45% of the county’s electrical needs, has been scuppered by An Bord Pleanála.

Monopower Ltd, a company owned by Aiden and Maurice McCarron, wanted to build the 22.5 megawatt biomass plant in Emyvale, Co Monaghan.

But the company was told the project was refused permission on two grounds — an inadequate road network and water run off from the proposed operation would create a public hazard.

Through EU-award winning environmental innovation, the proposed plant would have taken in 300,000 tonnes of poultry litter, mushroom waste and willow from Monaghan, Cavan, Tyrone and Fermanagh.

It would have been incinerated to convert it into electricity. The proposal had EU backing according to the McCarrons.

There had been considerable local objection to the plans — 530 objections including a 17,000-signature petition were lodged when planning permission was sought.

Farmers and residents feared incineration could produce harmful dioxins which could affect, not just their health, but the reputation of their local industries.

Consultant Jack O’Sullivan, of Environmental Management Service, said farmers, producers and residents have long-term fears about the plant.

“A lot of those I represent are poultry farmers and mushroom growers. They believe the plant could run out of fuel in three or four years time and the owners could apply to the local authority to burn other waste,” he said.

The protracted planning process and resultant decision cost Monopower more than €2m and 14 years in planning and formulation.

The company said it was still going through the terms of the refusal before deciding on its next course of action.

Irish Examiner

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