Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 9th Aug 2019
Intensive chicken farming under scrutiny
Trans-boundary impact of factory farming highlighted in planning appeal
Residents of County Monahan are being left exposed to runaway intensive chicken factory farming as the Local Authority ducks and dives through the regulations meant to protect them, according to an appeal lodged against a planning permission for a 26,000 broiler unit recently approved by Monahan County Council.
In a test case the environmental charity Friends of the Irish Environment is bringing to the Planning Appeals Board, a free range broiler unit west of Glaslough in County Monaghan plans to use its two hectare field located in a flood plane to give grazing to 10,000 birds a hectare – 5 metres from the nearest dwelling and in spite of the Planning Act’s requirement for a 100 metres separation.
Loophole: the separation distance the Council requires is 100 metres from the structure – not the field where 26,000 birds will deposit 5% of their droppings.
In what the organisation calls ‘a loophole within a loophole’, the Council is reusing to adhere to the EPA’s BATNEEC 2 (Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost) Guideline in place since 1996 which require 400 metres separation ‘from any odour sensitive location (e.g. dwelling house, church, school)’. The Planners Report disregards the Guidance on the grounds that ‘the words “should” and “preferable” are used and set no absolutes in this regard’.
The Council also refuses to consider the cumulative impact of hosting 80% of the Border Region’s chicken factories. While referring to their legal responsibility to consider the ‘nature and scale of the proposal’, they omit to consider the ‘the cumulation with other proposed development’, also required by that section of the legislation.
Of national importance is that nowhere in the more than 16 planning applications examined by FIE for the appeal was there a mention of the production of ammonia and its impact on the environment. Ammonia emissions in Ireland have increased by 7 per cent since first exceeding our national limits and the critical load for Ireland in 2016.
Ammonia is a potent greenhouse gas emitted into the air which is subsequently deposited as nitrogen onto land and water surfaces. It is estimated that 45% of the plant species extinctions occurring in the UK between 1987 and 1999 were associated with increased nitrogen availability. Studies have shown that more than 97% of Natura 2000 sites in Ireland have been adversely impacted by ammonia. The impact of ammonia discharged to air or water may extend for many kilometres and combines with particulate matter to affect human health.
After a complaint from this organisation, a chicken farm in Causeway and Glens local authority area in Northern Ireland was required to advertise in the Republic in order to ensure that the public affected in the neighbouring country has equal rights of participation as those in the originating country under the international Espoo Convention.
In a test case taken by FIE in 2018 it was determined by the Northern Ireland authorities that they can not rule out that intensive pig breeding units may have trans-boundary impacts and so trans-boundary consultation is required. After FIE’s complaint, a pig unit in Causeway and Glens local authority area in Northern Ireland was required to advertise in the Republic in order to ensure that the public affected by ammonia emissions on this side of the border have equal rights of participation as those in the originating country on the other side of the border.
The appeal claims that the Council is failing to assess the cross-border implications of further intensification of this industry that may affect the well-being of citizens at large in Northern Ireland.
Read the Objection
Causeway and Glen decision to implement cross-border consultation
Friends of the Irish Environment: Tony Lowes 353 (0)27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
Daithí Ó hÉalaithe (Irish language) +353 (0)87 6178852