Lisburn City Council has moved to delay an application for an anaerobic digestion plant at Altona Road after the Planning Service recommended its approval.
At Monday night’s meeting of the council’s planning committee, an office meeting with the Planning Service was requested by Alderman Paul Porter so concerns of elected members and residents can be addressed.
This follows 32 letters of objection, one letter of support and three petitions with 277 signatures objecting to the application being lodged.
Commenting on the application Mr Porter said, “I welcome the opportunity, even at this late stage to meet the Planning Service and ask them to look again at this application in view of the over-whelming concerns that residents have expressed culminating in the Planning Service receiving over 260 objections to this application.
“As a local Councillor for the area, it is imperative when sensitive applications of this nature are being progressed by the Planning Service, that residents are fully involved in the process and that their concerns and fears are addressed.”
Jonathan Craig MLA for the area said: “Having extensively looked at the proposals for this Anaerobic Digestion Plant, I find it difficult to understand how the Planning Service is now of a mind to give approval for this application considering the location and the effect it will have on the many residents who live in close proximity to the proposed site.”
“Residents’ concerns and questions still remain unanswered concerning traffic impact if such a proposal is approved and the detrimental impact it will clearly have on the road infrastructure in this area. Another major concern that residents have expressed surrounds the potential smell emanating from the proposed site and these are major issues that I believe the Planning Service have not given sufficient consideration when looking at this application,” he added.
Local transport firm McCulla Ireland Limited plans to invest over £3 million in a new 500 Kilowatt anaerobic digestion plant at its base in Blaris Industrial Estate. The planning application for the project was submitted in December. McCulla’s Managing Director Ashley McCulla, said that the investment is an important one for the company.
The anaerobic process produces renewable energy via a combined heat and power plant similar to that at AFBI (The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute) plant in Hillsborough, to power the McCulla complex, with surplus energy being sold back into the grid. The by-product, organic digestate, will be land-spread back onto farm land as a bio-fertiliser.