Controversial waste to biogas plant gets approval in Laois near Portlaoise

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Controversial biogas power plant gets approval in Laois

A biogas plant

A controversial biogas production plant planned near Portlaoise has been given planning approval.

Laois County Council has given conditional approval to Bord na Móna Powergen Ltd for the plant in Cúil Na Móna Bog within the townland of Clonboyne and Clonkeen, Portlaoise.

The plant would take in 80,000 tonnes of waste, most of it trucked into Laois from other counties, including brown bin and poultry industry waste.  The waste would then be rotted in tanks with the gasses collected and sold to replace fossil fuel gas.

Bord na Móna says the anaerobic digestion facility will be a continuous process and the plant will operate on a three-shift 24/7 basis. Waste deliveries and collections will 'only' occur from 8 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.

Up to 30,000 truck trips year could be required to see 80,000 tonnes of organic waste supplied to the facility.

The gas produced will be supplied to the national grid in Portlaoise via a pipeline along the Mountrath Road.

The application received some 260 objections from local people, with many listing concerns at the potential smell, health hazards, heavy traffic and damage to the environment.  The decision could result in an appeal by those objectors to An Bórd Pleanála. 

Bord na Móna owns the big waste company AES. The company previously tried to build a plant along the Mountmellick road near Portlaoise beside the Kyletalesha landfill.

One resident has since told the Leinster Express they will "do whatever it takes" to try to stop the plant being built, including an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Approval was granted on January 5.