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€40m Kerrygold plant on hold after engineer lodges planning objection

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The Kerrygold factory in Mitchelstown, Co Cork

The Kerrygold factory in Mitchelstown, Co Cork

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Plans for a €40m expansion of a Kerrygold plant in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, have been put on hold following an objection by a local resident.

An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to grant the company permission to almost double the size of its existing butter processing facility.

Ornua, through its subsidiary Kerrygold Butter Packing Ireland, has sought approval for the expansion in order to increase the capacity of the plant, which opened in 2016, from 40,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes per annum.

The new proposed facilities will include an extra 1,550 sq m of production space and almost 2,000 sq m of storage space as well as seven 15-metre high liquid storage silos.

The company said the plans provided for new butter churn and cream processing infrastructure, two new packaging lines and additional cold storage and distribution space.

Ornua said all access to and from the plant would continue via the existing access road to Castlefarm from the Kildorrery roundabout.

However, the appeal cites “unacceptable odours and nuisance” from unsealed heavy goods vehicles going to and from the plant via the town centre, contrary to existing planning conditions, as one of the main grounds of objection.

The appellant, a consultant engineer, said he did not object to the development in principle but was anxious that certain conditions would be attached to any grant of planning permission to address his concerns regarding traffic, odour and noise.

They include the problem posed by lorries accessing the wastewater treatment plant that is also used by the adjoining Dairygold plant from the town.

He also expressed concern about the impact of the development on the environment as increased production would require more raw materials which would result in increases in cow herds and associated carbon dioxide and ammonia levels.

An Taisce raised similar objections about the project with Cork County Council claiming existing milk production levels “are already causing significant and unlawful environmental damage”.

Ornua had hoped construction would begin this summer and the new facility be completed by next summer. However, a ruling on the appeal by An Bord Pleanála is not due until November 23.

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