Celebrations in Ballydoyle as animal plant gets planning refusal

CHAMPAGNE corks were popping in Ballydoyle stables last night and across the wider Golden Vale as campaigners celebrated the decision by South Tipperary County Council to refuse planning permission for a controversial animal waste plant.

Champion racehorse trainer Aidan O’Brien and his wife Anne-Marie threatened to pull the multimillion Ballydoyle racing empire from the area if the plant went ahead. Their stable is 3km miles from the proposed plant at Castleblake outside Cashel.

“Aidan and I, together with all the staff at Ballydoyle are very relieved. This decision shows that the county council has recognised both the importance of the horse business to south Tipperary economically and the threat to human and animal health and welfare posed by this national rendering and waste plant,” said Anne-Marie O’Brien.

“Clean air and water is essential to everyone in this community, not just Ballydoyle, and we are delighted that the county council has made the right decision in protecting our environment,” she said.

Breeder John Magnier had also threatened to uproot his nearby Coolmore Stud enterprise.

The factory plans galvanised the community into a big campaign with up to 1,100 letters of objection sent to the county council. The plant was to be developed by Green Organics Energy (GOE), made up of National By-Products/Avglade, Bioverda/NTR and Dawn Meats and intended processing up to 250,000 tonnes of animal waste to make electricity, gas and biodiesel.

Campaign group South Tipperary for Clean Industry (STCI) welcomed yesterday’s decision saying it is confident, even if GOE appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanála, the “dirty and frightening project” won’t be developed.

STCI Ltd spokesman Douglas Butler said: “This follows a defeat for Bioverda at Bord Pleanála in relation to a similar plant at Ballard, Co Cork, and gives us more confidence that we will be able to protect this area from a completely unsuitable and unsustainable waste plant. The promoters should now drop this project, which is misguided and simply wrong. This small rural community should not be put through yet another planning process at Bord Pleanála level — even though we are confident of success.”

The council refused the application because of its size and scale, the type and quantity of materials being processed and the pressure on existing road infrastructure from trucks bringing waste and also distributing the finished product. Timeline

January 2007: A mass meeting is held where the South Tipperary for Clean Industry group is formed. Independent TD Michael Lowry, Fine Gael’s Tom Hayes and Fianna Fáil’s Senator Martin Mansergh support local community.

December. 2006: Planning permission lodged for €75 million anaerobic digester facility and biodiesel plant.

April 2003: The Ronan family, which controls National By-Products, withdraws its application to the Environmental Protection Agency for an integrated pollution control licence for the incinerator. As part of the agreement, racehorse trainer Aidan O’Brien and international horse breeder John Magnier agreed to drop an action for nuisance against the Ronan’s rendering business.

September 2002: Aidan O’Brien and John Magnier apply for a judicial review of the county council’s decision. The challenge was eventually dropped.

July 2002: A petition is circulated, organised by local umbrella group South Tipperary Anti-Incinerator Campaign, objecting to the development. It ends up with nearly 19,000 signatures from farmers, GPs and vets. It also commissioned an MRBI poll on the issue claiming 70% were opposed to the development.

May 2002: Planning permission was granted by South Tipperary County Council to develop a meat and bonemeal incinerator at Castleblake.

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