Local residents have successfully appealed for a second time a decision to grant planning permission for a controversial renewable energy plant in a north Kerry village.
An Bord Pleanála has overturned a decision by Kerry County Council to approve plans by Sandford Energy to complete a partially-developed power and heat generation facility near Causeway, Co Kerry.
It is the second time within 12 months that the company has had a ruling in its favour by the council reversed on an appeal by locals.
The project had previously also been successfully appealed by Kerry Education and Training Board because of the proximity of the plant to the village’s 470-pupil secondary school.
However, the ETB’s appeal on this occasion was declared invalid but in a submission, the ETB maintained its concern about the safety and welfare of students due to increased traffic as well as odour, air quality and noise.
Sandford Energy had hoped to complete a partially developed plant which produces a methane-rich biogas and a nutrient rich fertiliser from a process known as anaerobic digestion.
The company had proposed to use 14,000 tonnes of feedstock including 2,000 tonnes of cattle slurry annually at the plant which would have been sourced for adjacent farms.
One of the opponents, Roy Dineen, claimed the latest application was the same as the one that was previously refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála in June 2020 except for a few minor alterations to the drainage system.
Several local residents expressed concern about the impact of the proposed development in terms of odour, noise, nuisance and potential pollution.
Sandford Energy claimed its latest application had taken into account the board’s previous suggestions and opinions about the project and contained a more stringent method of separating soiled water from clean water on the site.
The company said the project would have created the potential for the installation of a district heating system which would have heated community buildings including the school.
However, An Bord Pleanála said planning permission was refused as it could not be satisfied that the project would not have an adverse effect on the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation.