A planning application for a biomass-fuelled power plant near Glenavy, County Antrim has been rejected five years after its submission and following 13,000 responses.
The £100m Rose Energy project was a proposed poultry bedding and waste incinerator that, according to its planning application, would burn 260,000t of litter a year and generate 30MW of electricity. It was hoped that the incinerator would provide an alternative to spreading poultry waste on agricultural land, which is limited by the EU Nitrates Directive.
Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland environment minister said that the environmental impact, as well as increased traffic and opposition from local residents and businesses outweighed the potential benefits of the scheme.
He said: “While accepting a need to deal with waste from the poultry industry I can see no site specific need in relation to this particular location. I stress that I do support the concept of energy from waste, but such facilities must be properly located. This proposal is not in the right place.”
Ulster Farmers’ Union president Harry Sinclair said: “We have been trying to secure a solution for the disposal of poultry litter since 2002 due to new environmental rules being imposed by the European Union.
“While accepting a need to deal with waste from the poultry industry I can see no site specific need in relation to this particular location. I stress that I do support the concept of energy from waste, but such facilities must be properly located. This proposal is not in the right place.”
Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland enivronment minister
“After all that time we are effectively no further forward.”
He added that the onus for finding alternative methods for the disposal of poultry litter “sits squarely with our local government departments”.
Communities Against the Lough Neagh Incinerator chairman, Ray Clarke welcomed the “brave decision” to reject the incinerator.
“It’s a victory for the rights of the community and ordinary everyday people.”
Mr Clarke said both the EU Commission and the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development had rejected the proposal as they contended “a waste incinerator was no longer the best option to deal with poultry manure when better, scientifically-proven alternatives exist”.
But Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister called the rejection a “savage blow” and said that alternatives to the project were “untested, unviable and unaffordable”.