Huge opposition growing to plan for bioenergy electricity plant in Naas

RESIDENTS and politicians are lining up to oppose plans for a E12.5m bioenergy electricity-generating plant at Kerdiffstown, Naas, close to the M7 motorway, despite assurances they have nothing to worry about.

 M&M Coldstores, based at the Newbridge Industrial Estate, have applied for permission to construct the facility including two anaerobic digesters as well as up to a dozen storage tanks.

The application also embraces gas flares.

According to the company, the plant will be 500 metres from the nearest resident and the plant will provide green electricity for 20 per cent of the local population (4,000 houses) and provide hot water to local businesses.

A total of 15 permanent jobs will be provided immediately and 50 jobs after it is built.

Local councillors have been urging people to object to the application on the basis that animal carcasses and sewage would be processed at the plant to create energy. This was dismissed by the developer who said organic waste, generated by local businesses – essentially food and water byproducts – will be used.

Objections must be received by next Monday, March 15, and a decision is due on April 4.

Householders fear the plant will create smells and could pose a health risk for people living in the area as well as having implications for amenities, property prices and local business.

Cllr Darren Scully who lives close to the site – currently a quarry – claimed the plant will break down carcasses, food waste and even sewage to create a gas used to generate electricity.

“The Monread Road will be used as the access point and it will take 55,000 tonnes per annum, which amounts to a huge amount of truck movements,” he said.

If approved, it will be monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but Cllr Scully said he had little faith in this.

“This should not be allowed to go ahead in a built-up area of where 20,000 people live. It will have implications for people living in north Naas, Kill, Johnstown and Sallins,” he said.

Sallins resident and councillor Paddy McNamara said it is important not to prejudge the facility but he questioned whether the EPA has sufficient powers once planning permission is granted. He also pointed out the plant is located close to a Grand Canal feeder.

“This is not a case of not wanting something in my back yard. People are concerned and the council planners who make the decision must take the views of residents and public representatives into account,” he added.

Cllr Willie Callaghan said the location is wrong because of the proximity to a residential area.

“We have already seen trucks coming through Naas on the way to Kilcullen and leaving bad smells for a couple of hours and we don’t want a return to that,” he said.

Planning documents filed by the applicants last month list Pat Meade and Jason Mallon as the company directors.

Mr. Meade insisted that animal carcasses cannot and will not be brought there and neither will sewage. He said noise levels would equate to the sound of a lawnmower about 30ft away.

“The idea is to eliminate smells. Bacteria will break down the matter taken in and the gas produced will be burned to generate electricity. The gas will not go into the atmosphere, so there will be no smell and if we have no gas we have no revenue stream. It is in nobody’s interest to have a smell and if that happens my investment will be lost,” he said.

He said waste produced by the plant will create a “dry organic fertiliser” and for this reason the contents of brown bins cannot be used because of the occasional presence of plastic and wood.

For the plant to succeed, he said, it must be located close to an urban area and wil lbe subject to conditons laid down by the county council and the EPA.

He also said he had sought the views of Kerdiffstown residents but nobody attended an arranged meeting.

“Animal carcasses require a different licence, these are not mentioned in the application and we cannot deal with them,” he said, adding the intake is 45,000 tonnes per annum.

He said the operation of the plant would also be strictly monitored by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Leinster Leader, 10 March 2010

By Paul O’Meara

http://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/Huge-opposition-growing-to-plan.6138883.jp

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