Council opposes human waste site plans

COLERAINE Borough Council has voted unanimously to join its Council neighbours in Limavady in opposing planning permisison for a human waste sludge cake site on Broad Road.

DUP councillor Mark Fielding tabled a notice of motion at Tuesday’s Council meeting proposing that the Council “supports the decision of Limavady Borough Council to object to the current planning application for a human waste sludge cake site at the former quarry on the Broad Road - Coleraine to Limavady Road - located within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; and wish the Minister and Senior Planners to be made aware of our Councils’ opposition.”

Cllr Fielding continued: “The sludge treatment plant on the A37 has treated human waste for spreading on agricultural land. Transport of sewage sludge from Belfast to the site on the Broad Road was supposed to be temporary.

“The temporary licence was revoked in December 2011 due to breaches of the licence. A planning application for a permanent sludge cake storage and processing facility is currently being considered by the Planning Service.

“Limavady Borough Council unanimously agreed to oppose this planning application at their February Council Meeting.

“The entrance to the A37 site is seven miles from the Greenmount roundabout Coleraine , 4.5 miles from Limavady town and one mile from the Coleraine Borough Council boundary and is located within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which transcends both Council areas.

“There is nothing outstanding or beautiful about a human sewage plant whose processed sludge is spread on agricultural land – the stench and pollution which can result does not recognise boundary lines on a map. If this application is approved it will be detrimental to tourism.

“When the treatment plant was operating up until October 2011, the short term nuisance was the malodour so strong it was described by residents as ‘lethal’, ‘stench is blinding’ and ‘it smells like rotting carcasses’.

“If this application is approved there are fears of contamination in the long term and the negative impact of subsequent spreading of human waste sludge on the flora, fauna and waterways of the region.

“Limavady Borough Council, across all parties, unanimously voted to oppose this application, I propose that councillors in Coleraine take a similar decision and support this motion tonight,” he concluded.

Cllr Fielding also highighted the work of East Londonderry MLA George Robinson who had raised the issue with the Minister.

He was pleased to report that the Minister was of the view that “a unanimous council opposition should have a significant bearing on the thinking of the Planning Office when it comes to a final determination”

Mayor of Coleraine, Alderman Maurice Bradley told the meeting that he had some good news - that the site had been closed down.

However, he added, as the planning application was still live, Cllr Fielding’s motion was very relevant.

UUP councillor David Harding said that as a vet he was well used to “interesting smells” but said that the odour coming from the site was “unbelievable”.

Independent councillor Christine Alexander also voiced her opposition. She had visited the site and described it like “a Third World facility”.

When put to the vote, all councillors voted unanimously to join with their Limavady neighbours and oppose the planning application.

Mr Robinson welcomed that Minister, Alex Attwood, intends to visit the site on the Coleraine to Limavady road.