An Bord Pleanála approves Mountbellew wastewater treatment plant

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An Bord Pleanála has upheld planning permission for a new wastewater treatment plant in Mountbellew, ruling against an appeal by the local Co-Op.

Irish Water was granted a ten year planning permission for a new wastewater treatment plant in Mountbellew by the county council in April of 2021.

The project will involve building a new treatment plant at the northern end of Mountbellew town, located on lands adjacent to the Mountbellew Mart.

Other works in the project will include decommissioning the existing plant, which will be converted to a pumping station, and demolishing its tanks, biological filters and control building.

A rising main will be installed between the pumping station and the new treatment plant, and a gravity outflow pipe to carry treated sewage back to the pumping station.

The council’s decision was appealed by Mountbellew Regional Co-Op Livestock Society Ltd on the basis of its likely impact on the adjacent Livestock Mart, potential future development, and concerns about environmental reports.

The appeal states that the new plant could undermine the viability of the Mart, with buyers and sellers going elsewhere, and that this potential impact was not taken into consideration at the site selection stage.

It also claims that the 10 year planning permission could hold up development in the village, and that the potential expansion of the plant in the future, which was alluded to in the planning report, should have been considered.

The Co-Op also raised concerns with the Natura Impact Statement, saying that as it was submitted as further information, new public notices should have been put up, and that it should have assessed the cumulative impact of any potential future expansion.

A response to the appeal on behalf of Irish Water states that the wastewater treatment plant is required to address the growth of Mountbellew, and that future expansion of the plant should be addressed by environmental assessment at that time.

It also states that the wastewater treatment plant will be designed and operated in such a way as to avoid odour and noise problems.

The Mountbellew Mart had previously accused Irish Water of dishonesty in its dealings with them surrounding the acquisition of land for the treatment plant.

Irish Water secured the land by Compulsory Purchase Order, which was upheld by An Bord Pleanála in 2019, after saying that negotiations had broken down.

This was disputed by the Mart owners, which said that no final offer had ever been made to them.

Planning permission for the project was ultimately upheld by An Bord Pleanála with a total of 12 conditions attached.