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25 Jan 2022

New date set for decision on renewable gas facility proposed for Tullamore

New date set for decision on renewable gas facility proposed for Offaly

A sample of what an anaerobic digester plant looks like

A decision on a proposal to build a renewable biogas facility in Tullamore has been delayed by An Bord Pleanala.

Strategic Power Limited applied to Offaly County Council for leave to build the anaerobic digester producing renewable energy and organic fertiliser at Ballyduff.

The application drew a large number of objections from residents along the Rahan and Clara roads along with a number of others including Barry Cowen TD and local councillors who came out in support of the residents.

On January 25, this year Offaly county council refused to give authorisation for the development which was earmarked for a 2.137 hectare site.

The council said the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) didn't contain an estimate of the type and quantity of expected residues and emissions and an assessment of the impact of these on the environment and human health.

The council stated that ''...the planning authority is not satisfied, having regard to the information contained in the EIAR, that the proposed development wouldn't cause serious air pollution which may have a significant impact on the environment and public health. The proposed development is therefore considered contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.''

Strategic Power Limited appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala on February 19, 2021.

A decision was due by June 24 last. A spokesperson at the Board said the appeal is still with the inspector and a decision is now expected by August 19.

The plan for the site includes a feedstock reception hall, boiler and plant room, laboratory, two primary digester tanks, a secondary digester tank, two liquid digestate storage tanks, a water storage tank, two manure reception tanks, a solid digestate store, pasteurisation unit, gas entry unit and gas upgrade unit three LPG tanks and three covered silage clamps,

The residents living along the Rahan Road are objecting on the grounds that the facility will they say, receive, ''5,500 tonnes of fodder beet, 5,500 tonnes of maize silage, 15,000 tonnes of liquid farmyard manure, 15,000 tonnes of silage and 9,000 tonnes of chicken manure.''

They say, ''this produce will be fed into an anaerobic digester which will produce biogas and fertiliser. The biogas will be fed into the gas network.''

Residents say the developer intends to lorry in this ''type of product [minimum 30 loads per day] and lorry out the digestate [a fertiliser created at the end of the process] to be spread on surrounding farms.''

Rahan Road Residents Association claim that if the development gets the green light, everyone in the town will be affected by this plant.

Their main objections are, odour from the plant, vermin risk, increased traffic on the Rahan road, additional noise as the plant will run 24/7.They also say there could be potential for ''fire and explosion'' at the plant adding that there have been numerous examples from the UK of this happening.

They also fear ''gas poisoning from gas leaks, and the risk of pathogens including salmonella, parasites, viruses and fungi from the digestate.''

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