Controversial Ballyneety gas plant application withdrawn

The site of the proposed gas generating plant in Ballyneety.

A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a gas plant at an old quarry site in Ballyneety has been withdrawn for a second time.

Kilshane Energy had applied to place a 293MW gas turbine power generation station on the site of a former Roadstone quarry outside Ballyneety village.

Local residents came together following the first application by the company to form an action group against the proposal.

Suzanne Higgins, chairperson of the action group against the Ballyneety Gas Plant, said that the company had withdrawn the application on Thursday morning last (September 28).

“We don’t know the reason they have withdrawn, but it means our fight is paused again for another day perhaps. It’s a small victory but we assume they will be back again in the future,” Ms Higgins said.

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The chairperson added that the group will continue the campaign to “see this through and garner closure to the quarry site in general so that it may be left as a greenfield site”.

Locals raised objections to the proposal at the start of this year when the plans were first mooted. That application was withdrawn but when a second application was made, the group launched a campaign which included writing to local political representatives.

They said: “We understand that these power plants are part of the governments own initiatives to provide for current and future electricity demands. Our objections are not to the plant, but to the proposed location.”

“This is a wholly rural site, with single-lane, unlined roads for miles surrounding it. The construction of such a plant alone would be detrimental to the surrounding community, farmland, and roads.

“The quarry itself has not been in operation for more than 10 years and was never remediated or restored. So, in fact, the quarry has restored itself and gone through it’s own rewilding process over the years after quarry activity ceased. There are many active wildlife species at the site now and a full study would need to be done to highlight the negative impact such construction would have.

“This application is for an industrial facility, and our ask is that this plant is contained to already industrial zoned lands. There are no benefits to the local area to having this plant built on this site, but there are a long list of negatives.”