Concerned Drumbo residents have presented planning officials with a petition against an application for an anaerobic digestion plant.
A group of 20 people representing Drumbo village handed in the petition to Dermot O’Kane, Chief Planning Officer in Downpatrick, last Friday.
Also present on behalf of residents were Edwin Poots MLA and Councillors Uel Mackin, Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Planning Committee, James Baird and Roy Young.
Residents say they only became aware of the plans seven weeks ago even though the application was presented before Lisburn City Council in March and was recommended by the Planning Department for approval.
The petition of 424 signatures was objecting to the proposed siting of a Commercial Anaerobic Digester adjacent to Drumbo village.
The application submitted in 2011 by Turkington Farms also includes combined heat and power plant/office building, new feed stock area, proposed staff/visitor car parking facilities, ancillary works and access works; 70 metres North-East of no 45 Front Road Drumbo.
A spokesperson for the Drumbo & District Community Association commented: “Local residents have been dismayed to discover that this industrial waste facility and power plant was recommended for approval by DOE Planning Service in March without any request for an Environmental Impact Assessment to be carried out. It is unbelievable that an operation of this magnitude could be considered in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as Drumbo given the negative environmental consequences it would bring.”
The main concerns stated in the petition were: “Complete lack of roads infrastructure for a two mile radius around the proposed site; its proximity to the tranquil, rural village of almost 600 residents; the digester would require a minimum of 500 acres of slurry/feedstock per annum to operate but the proposed site is just 34 acres, meaning a minimum of 466 acres per annum (14,000 tonnes) would have to be brought in and out by road; the application if passed would be contrary to the DOE’s own draft planning guidelines for renewable energy (Anaerobic Digesters).”
Mr O’Kane spoke to residents at the handover and assured them that all points raised, both in the petition and also contained in over 250 signed letters of objection, would be considered and responded to before a final planning decision was reached.