Hearing planned for waste disposal facility

SCORES of objectors to Ireland’s first commercial anaerobic waste digester are expected to pack a hotel in North Cork later this month when An Bord Pleanála holds an oral hearing into the proposed €75 million project.

Valeco, a former subsidiary of the waste disposal giant, Greenstar, was refused planning permission for the project a few months ago at Ballard, Araglin.

The 42-acre site, which is not in the ownership of Valeco, was a controversial choice as it had previously been used by another company for a waste disposal, which the European Commission ordered closed.

It had housed lagoons full of liquid waste, much of it agricultural, and it was only closed after local residents took their case to the commission.

Having fought that lengthy battle they were then confronted with the Valeco project and hundreds of objections were sent to Cork County Council.

In the main they stated that the road infrastructure in the area was incapable of handling large lorries, which would bring waste for disposal to the site from all over Munster.

The county council agreed with them and refused the application.

Valeco then appealed to an Bord Pleanála which, although not requested to, decided to hold an oral hearing because of the scale of the project and the large number of objectors.

Anaerobic digestion is the natural process of decay and decomposition within organic waste. Valeco say the process can be used to turn organic wastes into bio-gas, used to produce heat, electricity and solid fertiliser. The company proposed to use the green energy to power the plant, with the

excess being sent into the national grid.

Bill Carey, spokesman for objectors who live in the villages of Araglin, Kilworth and Ballygiblin, reiterating that the narrow mountain roads were a major obstacle, said he was confident they would win their case.

The hearing will start at 10pm on Tuesday, November 21, at the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown.

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