Planning permission has been refused for a biogas plant in the Gort area which attracted massive local opposition, with hundreds of objections filed.
Sustainable Bio-Energy Limited submitted plans to the county council for a biogas plant on 10 hectare site in the townlands of Ballynamantan, Kinincha and Glenbrack in Gort.
Plants such as these are used to treat farm waste in order to produce fertiliser and energy.
In refusing permission for the biogas plant, the county council said that the local road network could not sustain the level of HGV traffic which would come about from this development.
This would create dangerous traffic conditions and pose a public safety hazard it was said.
The council also said that the scale and nature of this development, in a rural area, would be contrary to sustainable development of Gort.
The biogas plant would also be “visually obstructive and adversely impact on the receiving Class 3 landscape including the Coole demesne area to the north, the Kinincha Road/Gort River area and other potentially sensitive receptors”.
Ecological and environmental concerns were also raised over the information in the Natura Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Assessment Report submitted with the application.
The planning authority said that “potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of air pollutants, pollutants to water quality, habitat loss/fragmentation and the exclusion of a satisfactory assessment of a number of European sites in the vicinity” meant that it could not rule out damage to multiple Special Areas of Conservation nearby.
It was also said that not enough information was contained in the EIAR to rule out the possibility of risk human health, as well as local biodiversity.
Over 300 submissions were made to the county council objecting to these plans, with locals coming together to express their opposition in the Gort Bio Gas Concern Group on Facebook.
Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the refusal was good news for Gort, saying that the town’s future lies in tourism and more appropriate economic development which better serves the town.
In his own objection Deputy Cannon said the plan was unacceptable less than a kilometre from Gort, and that it would interfere with Fáilte Ireland’s plan to make Gort the epicentre of the new Burren Loop.
“The scale and nature of the proposed development would completely undermine this initiative and make it almost impossible to market Gort as an attractive heritage town to potential visitors”.
County Councillor Joe Byrne also welcomed the news of the planning application’s refusal, and urged the developer to accept the council’s decision, and not appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
image credit: Vasyatka