River fears see Bord Pleanála block plans for rural site
A n e n v i ro n m e n t a l c a m paigner has succeeded in blocking plans to deposit 78,000 tonnes of soil on agricultural land in west Kerry which he claimed threatened to pollute a local river.
An Bord Pleanála has upheld an appeal by Michael Horgan, who runs the Lakes and Rivers of Kerry group, against the proposed development to reclaim land for farming near Lispole, Co Kerry.
The ruling overturns an earlier decision by Kerry County Council to grant planning permission to Listowel firm Allman Contracts to raise the height of the land by up to 1.5m by covering it in with soil imported from excavated material from the N 8 6 R o a d I m p r o ve m e n t Scheme.
The company, which de- itself as a leading player in the “muck-shifting industries”, also indicated it was interested in developing a waste facility on the lands.
Mr Horgan had expressed concern about the impact of the development on the Owenalongdrig River which adjoins the site, particularly on fish in the river including salmon and trout.
He claimed a proposed 30m buffer zone between the deposited soil and the river was inadequate.
Mr Horgan said it was likely to have a negative impact on the landscape and tourism as it was in one of t h e m o s t s c e n i c a re a s o f Kerry with a holiday village across the road from the development.
He argued that Allman should be seeking retention permission as most of the d e ve l o p m e n t h a d a l r e a d y taken place.
inspector with An Bord Pleanála said the site had already been covered almost entirely with topsoil and stone and that Allman should have sought retention permission.
She noted there was no evidence of specific condiscribes tions attached to the grant of planning permission by Kerry County Council, including erection of fencing, having been implemented.
The inspector said she shared Mr Horgan’s concerns about a potential pollution risk which the developAn ment posed to the river because of the steep sloping site and “minimal information” supplied by Allman.
An Bord Pleanála said it was not satisfied the proposed development would not give rise to an unacceptable risk of pollution due to run-off of soils and other material notwithstanding the proposed buffer zone of 30m.
It said it was likely to have a detrimental effect on the water quality of the Owenalongdrig River.
The board said it had taken into account the fact that a substantial part of the proposed works had already been carried out before it had made its decision.
“It is considered that the proposed development would seriously injure the amenities of the river and its environs and would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” it added.
The board said a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment should have been carried out due to the scale of soil being deposited at the site.
Lispole, Co Kerry, and the Owenalongdrig River valley.