Lisburn City Council has called for a public enquiry into proposals for a poultry litter incinerator, which would generate green energy for an estimated 25,000 homes.

The Rose Energy consortium – O’Kane Poultry, Moy Park and Glenfarm Holdings – wants to build a 30MW power station near Glenavy to deal with the vast quantities of poultry litter produced by the local industry. It would deliver up to a third of Northern Ireland’s renewable energy obligations.

But campaigners against the plant say it will damage Lough Neagh’s ecosystem by extracting 3.8m litres of water a day to cool the incinerator. At a Lisburn City Council Planning Committee meeting earlier this week, councillors called on the Environment Minister to hold a public inquiry into the proposal.

The project has attracted much support, including the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association, North of Ireland Veterinary Association, Livestock and Meat Commission and Northern Ireland Manufacturing.

Michael Bell, executive director of NIFDA said the poultry industry was at the “heart” of the local economy and must be protected from closure. “The poultry industry within Northern Ireland employs over 7000 people and it is vital that we develop industry in a sustainable manner.”

Construction of the plant will also create jobs, as highlighted by Northern Ireland Manufacturing. “At a time when it is critical for Northern Ireland to create new employment opportunities, the Rose Energy scheme will create more than 300 jobs over a three-year period within the construction industry; a sector that has experienced significant job losses in recent times.”