River fears see Bord Pleanála block plans for ru­ral site

Irish Examiner - - News - Seán McCárthaigh

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.

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