Bord blocks west Kerry land project

Concerns had been raised over possible affect on Lios Póil river

Tadhg Evans

An Bord Pleanála has upheld an appeal against plans to deposit 78,000 tonnes of soil to reclaim land for agricultural use in Garraí na dTor, Lios Póil.

Kerry County Council had granted planning permission for this, subject to five conditions, to Allman Contracts Limited earlier this year after the Listowel-based company proposed to develop a waste-management facility for the recovery of inert waste material for land reclamation.

It proposed to raise the surface of the ground by between one metre and 1.5 metres over the entire site, almost four hectares, by covering it with excavated material from the N86 Improvement Scheme. It also proposed a buffer zone of 30 metres from the Abhainn an Lóndraigh river.

However, Lakes and Rivers of Kerry Secretary Michael Horgan appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanála, expressing his concern at the impact the development could have on Abhainn an Lóndraigh "given that it is a salmonid river and an excellent trout river".

He felt a 30-metre buffer zone was inadequate and asked who would police the site. He also expressed concern at its impact on "one of the most scenic areas in the county" and its location across the road from a holiday village.

The appellant also claimed that the proposed development should be seeking retention rather than permission.

An Bord Pleanála found that the site had been covered almost entirely with topsoil and stone, and that retention should have been included as part of the development.

The inspector shared Mr Horgan's concerns over potential pollution to Abhainn an Lóndraigh. She said there was minimal information on the proposed construction and measures to protect the river.

She said that there was no evidence that mitigation measures laid out in the conditions of planning had been implemented.

Due to the nature of the development and to the location of part of the site on steeply sloping hills, the board was not satisfied at the risk of water pollution and sedimentation due to run-off soils and other materials. It found the buffer zone for the watercourse appeared to have been respected.

In recommending that planning be refused, she said "the proposed development would, therefore, be injurious to the amenities of the river and its environs and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."