A planning application to build a Chicken Litter Incinerator in an area of high scenic value has been made by Rose Energy. The company is controlled by local firm Moy Park, who are in turn owned by the multi-national company Marfrig, whose headquarters are in Brazil. The communities bordering Lough Neagh and environmentalists province wide are concerned that this is not the best way to tackle the problems faced by the poultry industry.
Our Key Objections
- The proposed Rose Energy incinerator site lies off the Ballyvannon Road near Glenavy in the green belt. It lies within an Area of High Scenic Value. It is also adjacent to a European Special Protected Area of Special Scientific Interest and RAMSAR wetland.
- At 6.4 acres in built form including an 80 metre chimney stack as tall as Windsor House in Belfast the Incinerator will totally blight the local rural landscape. It will be visible from 80% of the surface water of Lough Neagh and from every County which borders the Lough.
- Rose Energy proposes to extract 3.84 million litres of water per day from Lough Neagh to cool the incinerator. The company will discharge 1.2 million litres of treated effluent back into the Glenavy River on a daily basis at a temperature anywhere between one and eight degrees Celsius warmer than the river temperature. This will have a devastating impact on the river ecosystem and aquatic life.
- Local rejection of the Incinerator proposal has been widespread. The CALNI Group has spent £350,000 to date and will use further significant resources to fight the Rose Energy planning application using various retained planning, environmental and legal experts. The Barristers and Solicitors retained by CALNI have experience of taking planning cases to Europe.
Key arguments against the proposal include:
- The applicant’s deeply flawed site selection evidence. CALNI’s own consultants have objectively found 30 better suited sites in Northern Ireland which are mainly based within industrial areas. One of the best sites is owned by Invest NI and lies in Ballymena. Indeed Invest NI actually recommended the site to Rose Energy some years ago. The Ballymena site also offers combined heat and power benefits for businesses in the area. It is also only 2 miles from a grid connection – the Glenavy site is 15 miles from the grid.
- Rose Energy requires approximately £30 million of public money from Invest NI to deliver the proposed £100million incinerator. CALNI argues that this money should have been made available through a public tendering process to secure ‘best value’ for the public purse. There are numerous issues of public interest to do with the funding and economics of the Rose Energy project which are not being disclosed to CALNI and the media.
- DARD and the applicant have failed to examine and trial alternative technologies to treat chicken litter. The DARD commissioned research which recommended a single incinerator based solution is already five years old and out of date.
A complex issue summarised
The planning application consists of a large number of detailed documents. Rose Energy have placed most of these documents on their web site. For details click on the Rose Energy logo. These documents take some time to download and read, but it is worth the effort. At the end of the day though, CALNI believes that the issues raised by this application are much bigger than the consideration of one possible solution to the waste disposal problems faced by the poultry industry. We believe that the only way that they can be debated in an adequate way is through a public enquiry. Please read the information on our web site together with the application. Become informed on the wider issues and call loud and clear for such an enquiry. This will best serve the needs of the wider community of Northern Ireland and the border counties.
Rose Energy and their supporters have branded us as NIMBY’s. They underestimate us. Our objections are threefold:-
- Wrong Technology. CALNI is convinced that the use of incineration is not in the best interests of Northern Ireland. The poultry farmers will not gain from it. Rose Energy are proposing to build an incinerator with significant spare capacity. They say that they will not use it for any other purpose. However large profits could be made by adapting it to tackle local lignite deposits or the municipal solid waste from the greater Belfast area.
- Wrong Location. The only thing that is right about the location from the Rose point of view is that it is next door to the lignite deposits.
- Wrong Economics. This affects every tax payer in Northern Ireland. Rose need £30M of our money to help build this monstrosity. They have also indicated to our MLA’s that they will need an operating subsidy for the next twenty-five years.
CALNI has done some serious fund raising and put in much time and effort to investigate alternatives. In the end, something does have to be done about the disposal of poultry litter. It is this work that entitles us to be seen as the farmers’ true friend. After all, we do have farmers as members! We have written at length about:-
- Right Technology. There are several alternatives. Some are new and for most of them, it is only the recent rises in energy prices that have made them economically viable.
- Right Location. We have identified five viable alternative locations where the treatment of this waste material can be achieved more efficiently.
- Right Economics. We have demonstrated how the poultry farmers themselves can invest in new ways to deal with the litter and get a good return on their investment. They could achieve long term profits without the need for the investment of public funds.