Controversial plans to build an incinerator at Lough Neagh are to be challenged in the High Court in Belfast, it was disclosed today.
The Communities Against the Lough Neagh Incinerator (CALNI) group lodged judicial review papers after environment minister Edwin Poots said the Co Antrim plant should proceed.
The centre in Glenavy will create up to 400 construction jobs. Poultry bedding, meat and bonemeal will be burned.
Residents believe other sites in industrial areas would better suit the development and have complained that no details of how the biomass power plant would be connected to the electricity grid have been published.
CALNI president Danny Moore said: “The minister’s decision to approve Rose Energy’s £100 million burnhouse on the shores of Lough Neagh at Glenavy does not mark the end of this process, but only the end of the beginning.”
The development has met opposition from local residents concerned about the impact on the rural landscape and communities near Lough Neagh.
Mr Poots said he was fully aware of opposition and support for the power plant and had to judge between the benefits to the poultry industry and the economy and the potential adverse impact on local houses and landscape. He approved the application this week.
Mr Moore claimed there were failings in the planning process.
“CALNI has consistently warned Minister Poots and Planning Service that if they refused to afford the communities opposed to this planning application the opportunity to access information on the Planning Service file, access to Planning Service consultees and to hold a public inquiry, we would challenge them in the courts,” he said.
The planning application was submitted in June last year by Rose Energy Ltd. The site will burn poultry products and produce approximately 30 megawatts of electricity. Around 30 permanent jobs will be created.
An expert group on alternative uses of manure concluded that combustion was the only technology for processing poultry litter which is proven on a commercial scale and which significantly reduces the volume of material to be disposed of.
The Environment Department received 6,342 letters and four petitions in support of the development and 6,733 letters and one petition opposed to it.