Dismay at green light for digester

Lisburn City Council has voiced its opposition to the Planning Service’s approval of an application for an anaerobic digestion plant at Altona Road.

At this week’s Council’s Planning meeting the application by McCulla Ireland. Ltd was approved by the Planning Service, but following lengthy debate the Council agreed unanimously to support a proposal by Alderman Paul Porter, that “the Council record its objection in the strongest possible terms to the Planners approval of this application”.

Long running opponent of this application Mr Porter asked the Planning Officer present, several questions concerning the 21 stipulations that had been recommended by Environmental Health and how these would be enforced. Mr Porter said: “When one looks at the unprecedented amount of conditions that Environmental Health have stipulated concerning this application, with this urban setting, hundreds of houses on it doorstep and the added traffic volume that this application will generate, it is clear that this is not the setting for an Anaerobic Digestion plant to be erected.”

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Porter asked for the response from the Planning officer concerning their ability to enforce the planning stipulations that have been attached to this application be recorded.

Mr Porter said: “I would like to publicly thank all the 277 residents that signed the petition and submitted letters to the planning service objecting to this application. Even at this late stage I would urge the Planning Service to reconsider their decision as I believe this will clearly lead to similar proposals being submitted for other sites in the urban parts of our City.”

Councillor Jenny Palmer was also disappointed with the decision. She highlighted the concerns outlined by the council’s Environmental Health and the noise and odours emanating from the plant. She said: “The residents will be the citizens that will ultimately have to live with this on their doorstep.“

Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee Cllr. Uel Mackin said: “I have grave concerns about the impact this particular plant at Altona will have on the nearby residents, the rural community from which silage is to be drawn and the enforceability of the conditions attached to the proposed approval.”

“My deeply held view is that if so many conditions are necessary there is something fundamentally wrong with the location or design of the plant,” he added.

Local MLA Jonathan Craig who had also objected to the proposal said: “Following the office meeting with residents, planners and elected members it was clear that the only sensible decision would have been for the planning service to refuse this application.

“With the amount of stipulations attached to this planning application and extreme difficulty that government agency will have trying to enforce them,”