Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 22 July 2017

North's new biomass plant 'to hit poultry'

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

A massive biomass power plant fuelled by poultry litter and meat and bone meal in Northern Ireland is set to put serious pressure on the poultry industry south of the border.

The Rose Energy plant at Glenavy, Co Antrim is backed by a consortium of three agri-food companies, Moy Park Ltd, O'Kane Poultry and Glenfarm Holdings.

The power plant, which will generate 30mw of electricity per year and up to one-third of Northern Ireland's sustainable energy obligations, was given the green light by Minister Edwin Poots on Thursday.

However, the development could have serious implications for poultry growers and processors in the south, industry players have warned.

Vincent Carton, managing director of Cavan-based Carton Brothers said the Rose Energy plant was a state-subsidised method of poultry litter disposal.

"Farmers in the North will have very little cost compared to our farmers down here who have to bear all of the litter disposal cost," he insisted.

Mr Carton was speaking following an IFA-organised meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith, on Wednesday night.

Derogation


The Manor Farm boss joined farmer representatives and industry leaders from the Cavan/Monaghan region to discuss the Nitrates Directive review.

"The removal of the derogation for pig and poultry farmers would be a huge cost addition to bear for both farmers and processors," he said.

"However I believe in protecting the environment," he added. "And the pollution issue has improved under the Nitrates Directive.

"We need to put the right infrastructure in place to deal with poultry litter," he insisted.

"We need storage on the tillage farms so that it can be used immediately as it is needed."

Cavan IFA county chairman Jim O'Rourke urged the Minister for Agriculture to show farmers he was serious about the 50pc increase in pig production proposed in the Food Harvest 2020 report.

The north Leinster/Ulster vice president John Waters added that water quality had stabilised and improved since the introduction of the Nitrate Directive and during the derogation period.

"On that basis, the derogation for pig and poultry farmers is not a risk to water quality," he maintained.

Andrew McCarren, managing director of McCarren Meats in Cavan, who slaughter up to 5,000 pigs per week, was also a member of the delegation.

Irish Independent