An Bord Pleanala has granted planning permission for controversial plans for a €40 million Chinese-backed meat processing plant for Banagher, Co. Offaly.
The Appellate Body’s green light comes nearly two years after Banagher man and self-proclaimed “lifelong environmentalist,” Desmond Kampff, and fellow complainant Gwen Wordingham appealed the Offaly Co. council’s decision to grant planning permission for the proposed facility at a Location to be granted is in Boheradurrow and Meenwaun, 3 km south-east of Banagher.
The number of animals to be slaughtered at the facility is said to be 36,000 per year, and the board granted planning permission after its inspector, Stephen Kay, concluded that “the proposed development is not likely to have a significant negative impact on the environment of the climates”.
The Appeals Committee granted planning permission after concluding that the proposal would be in line with national and regional policies to develop rural areas and promote the agricultural sector and rural economy.
The Board of Appeal also found that pending the adoption of the sectoral emissions plan, the meat processing plant would not be in breach of the provisions of the 2021 Climate Action Plan.
The Appeals Committee also determined that the proposed development would not seriously detract from the visual amenities of the area or have a significant adverse impact on the lands and would not reduce the value of any real estate in the area.
The Board also determined that the proposed facility would not pose a pollution risk.
In July 2019, plans were first submitted for the meat processing plant, which will have a capacity of 40 tons of meat per day and a capacity of 140 cattle per day.
The Board noted that the program would have a positive impact on the local and wider economy.
Mr Kay recommended that planning permission be granted in January this year, but the board asked applicants in February to provide a response to assess the development’s impact on climate change.
In response, Banagher Chilling Ltd stated that neither total emissions from development nor emissions as a percentage of reduction targets are significant.
Banagher’s submission states that the national herd will increase by 1.5 percent per year to a total of 7,314,400 in 2020 and the proposed development will require about 36,000 animals per year, but the national herd will increase by about 110,000 each year .
Banagher Chilling also stated that the annual slaughter rate at Department of Agriculture licensed farms in 2020 was 1,798,682 animals “and therefore the 36,000 animals proposed at the current facility would represent a very small percentage of the national total”.
In his own reply, Mr. Kampff claimed that the requirement of 36,000 head of cattle per year represents approximately a third of the current increase in herd numbers per year and reliance on continued herd growth would not make the business profitable in the future.
Mr Kampff further argued that Banagher Chilling’s conclusions on the non-significance of development in terms of climate impact are not accepted and do not take into account that emissions need to decrease in order to meet national climate targets.
In the original appeal, Mr. Kampff told An Bord Pleanala: “We are a group of concerned local people who fundamentally believe that there is no justification for developing a facility of this scale at this site.”
Offaly County Council informed the Appellate Committee that the proposed development will not result in an increase in herd size due to the 1.5 percent annual increase in national herd size and that the proposed development would account for a very small percentage of the annual slaughter rate at Department of Agriculture Licensed Facilities .
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/bord-pleanala-gives-green-light-for-chinese-backed-40m-banagher-meat-plant-41732286.html Bord Pleanala greenlights China-backed €40m Banagher meat plant