Wednesday 23 October 2019

Minister 'can act on Lough Talt'

Paul Deering

Sligo County Council believes a Special Area of Conservation may have to be impacted upon if a resolution is to be found to the Lough Talt water supply issue.

In a statement the council says that in its previous planning application in May 2018 seeking the treatment plant's upgrade, it was accompanied by a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) which concluded that the proposed development was going to have a significant adverse affect on the integrity of the Lough Hoe Bog Special Area of Conservation.

"Sligo County Council agrees with the conclusion of the NIS. However, because there are no reasonable alternative options, the Council considers that there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) that justify consenting to the project despite its potential adverse affect on the SAC.

The council statement goes on: "In such circumstances, a planning authority may only grant planning permission if the Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government agrees to this.

"On 8th March last, Sligo County Council issued a Statement of Case to the Minister, indicating that imperative reasons of overriding public interest exist and proposing compensatory measures that are necessary to minimise effects on the Special Area of Conservation

"A decision on the planning application will be made when the Minister responds to Sligo County Council."

In May 2018, Irish Water lodged a planning application with Sligo County Council proposing to upgrade of the existing water treatment plant at Lough Talt.

The Lough Talt WTP serves an extensive catchment of South and West Sligo supplying water to a population of approximately 14,000 persons.

The council stressed that an upgrade is urgently needed because of public health issues caused by the deficiencies in the current treatment of the water supplied from the plant.

Within the past 12 months, two separate boil water notices have been imposed due to the detection of cryptosporidium in the treated water.

Sligo Champion