Residents near where an anaerobic digestion facility is set to be constructed in Laois are planning to mount a legal challenge to An Bord Pleanala against the project.
Bord na Móna received planning permission on January 5 to construct an anaerobic digester waste facility at its Cúil na Móna site at Togher, just outside Portlaoise – in the townland of Clonboyne and Clonkeen.
Board na Mona plans to build a plant which takes in food and animal waste and digests it down to produce gas for the national grid and uses the left over by product as fertilizer for farms.
Bord na Móna estimates that the proposed development will treat up to 80,000 tonnes of non-hazardous, biodegradable, organic material per year.
The material to be treated will include a combination of commercial food waste, brown bin waste, animal slurries from cattle, pigs and poultry, purpose-grown crops such as grass, silage and maize and food processing residues from dairy and meat processors.
In submissions made to Laois County Council, of which there were hundreds, many cited concerns over potential traffic volumes and odour.
Fine Gael Councillor for Portlaoise, Thomasina Connell, is one of those involved in the proposed legal action.
She explained that the group of residents had set up a GoFundMe Page in order to gather money to finance their legal bid.
She said: “I’m very disappointed that the Planning Department in Laois County Council have made the decision to grant permission to Bord na Mona for this latest development in Portlaoise – an enormous anaerobic digester – just outside our town, on the Mountrath Road.
“I made a lengthy submission opposing this development to Laois County Council, along with hundreds of local people in Portlaoise and the outlying areas.
“Despite our protests, this got the green light.
“It’s really important to know that this is not the end of the road.
“The next step is an Appeal of this decision to An Bord Pleanala (ABP). Because the submission to ABP is very complex, it is proposed to engage professionals to assist us.
“Obviously there is a cost to this and we have set up a GoFundMe page.
“I would urge you to consider making a contribution. Here’s the link to the go fund me page. If this issue is important to you, donate what you can.”