In early December, the 400+ people who previously objected against the second attempt at a planning application for a massive biogas plant in Gort received a letter from Galway Co. Co. Following the refusal to grant planning, the Biogas company lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanala (ABP) in February and in June we heard that the appeal was deemed invalid because it had been lodged too late. Case closed or so we thought.
Since then, the company went to the High Court to contest ABP decision not to deal with the appeal. Their argument related to a discrepancy on the deadline date as reported on the Galway Co. Co website and the ABP website. The High Court ruled in favour of the Biogas company and they now have a second chance to appeal the decision to refuse planning by Galway Co. Co to ABP.
So where does this leave us now……?
Essentially, we’re back to where we were in January 2020 when the application was refused for the first time.
Why did people object in the first place?
There were many many different reasons for the objections which are highlighted in Significant Failings of Gort Biogas Proposal–
- The proposed Biogas plant would be the biggest in Ireland and South Galway is not the right location for a plant of this scale. Check out post on Gort Biogas Plant – Location, Location, Location
- The developers have a very poor reputation and the sister plant in Ballybofey is a cause of grave concern. The proposal and EIA is very poor quality with a lot of deficiencies – we’re asking for trouble if they build it as proposed. They also have a reputation of adding on more silos etc. once they have a footprint.
- Gort as a place to live and visit, would be impacted. There are big problems with Odour from this site which is only 300m from Gort Town Center. The proposed plant would will bring a heavy increase in HGVs’ through Gort Town centre – these are likely to be slurry tankers. Check out Gort Biogas, Something smells fishy!
- The plant is within 10m of the Gort River and its connectivity to Coole Lake and environs. This is a tremendously sensitive Area with multiple SACs. Biogas plants have incidents and accidents (The Ballybofey Biogas plant had 43 incidents (that were reported) in 2019, up from 23 in 2018. )
So what happens next and what can we do……?
Once ABP receives a renewed appeal from the Biogas company, we as a community, will have four weeks to lodge our objections. For those who lodged an objection last March to ABP; this can be updated and resent with a new date and a new reference number (we will know this once an appeal is lodged). ABP will also need to take in consideration the 400 objections with Galway Co. Co.
We will update our template objection letters for ABP for those wishing to use these.
The Concern Group will stay very vigilant about what happens next and already started planning our response to a new appeal. Keep up with the latest on our Facebook page.
If you are one of the thousand residents who signed a petition list against this appeal: these lists are in safe hands and we will resubmit them again.
So what can local business do….?
We need your support now more than ever. Have no doubt this development, should it go ahead, will have a significant negative impact on our town and local communities, its long term viability and its ability to grow and prosper. Significant increase in HGV volumes through the town- all day, every day, intense and persistent odours, destruction of our Riverwalk and local environment and our ability to attract tourists are just some of the things we can expect if this facility gets planning approval.
This in turn will impact on businesses within the town. So take an objection template or write your own and join the fight to ensure all of our futures.
Gort Biogas Concern Group