Longford County Council and locals object to
development of sludge facility in Mullahoran

Longford County Council has objected to the development of a sludge composting facility at Mullahoran in Co Cavan.

Longford County Council has objected to the development of a sludge composting facility at Mullahoran in Co Cavan.

A second planning application in respect of the proposed development was lodged with Cavan County Council earlier this year, however together with major objections by locals living in the vicinity of the development and the objections of Longford local authorities, Cavan Co Council has now requested further information in respect of the matter.

In July of this year, Rodney Wilton lodged the second planning application with Cavan Co Council in respect of the development with the intention of changing the use of the existing mushroom compost facility at Carnagh, Kilcogy to that of a municipal Sludge Composting Facility. Also included in the application was, a change of use and upgrading of the existing main process buildings to facilitate sludge composting activities; a change of use of three composting tunnels; proposed new bio-filter infrastructure to be positioned over the upgraded composting tunnels; the development of “a new advanced sewerage treatment unit” and storage tank to accommodate staff toilet/wash-room facilities located in the existing offices; the construction of two new storm water attenuation areas including by-pass separators; the construction of a designated refuelling area; removal of the existing bridge and construction of a new bridge in the revised location across the existing river as well as all ancillary works.

In a letter to Cavan County Council, Longford County Council stated in its objections to the proposed development that “the first serious concern to be raised relates to the issue of malodorous emissions to which the proposed development might give rise to, given its nature and similarity of the proposed use of the site to that previously carried on by Greenhill Composting Ltd”.

The local authority went on to cite that the operator’s use of the site – which lies within 600m of the Longford County Boundary – had, over the years, given rise “to serious and widespread complaints” regarding obnoxious odours which emanated from the site.

“Further, it has been indicated that the bio-filter system will only be ‘verified’ once the facility is fully installed and that a monitoring plan will only be submitted to the planning authority for its agreement at that stage,” the submissions went on to state. “Evidently, with no input from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – as was the case with the previous malodorous Greenhills Composting Ltd – regulation will only involve on-site subjective assessment and annual monitoring.”

Longford County Council went on to say that it also had concerns for water quality in the area as a direct result of the development. “There is the potential for the current proposal to impact adversely on the water quality of the River Erne along the section immediately to the north west of the site which forms the country boundary with Longford, and also on the waters of Loch Gowna into which the Erne flows with shorelines in the adjacent townslands of Toome and Kilmore [Mullinalaghta],” it stated. “Finally, the potential for HGV traffic servicing the proposed development to traverse the minor county road network of the adjoining north-east Longford area is of further serious concern.”

A number of local people in the area – including families on the Mullinlaghta side of the site’s boundary have also lodged objections with Cavan County Council and one member of the community who spoke to the Leader recently about the matter said, “the stench from a sludging facility such as this would be unbearable and we would also be very concerned about the pollution of the River Erne”.