Ballynakelly residents urged to ‘say no the biodigester’ at tonight’s planning meeting

Ballynakelly resident Trevor Stratton points to the "Say No to the Biodigester Plant Here" sign
Ballynakelly resident Trevor Stratton points to the "Say No to the Biodigester Plant Here" sign

Angry at the proposed approval of a waste digestion plant in Ballynakelly village despite over 500 objections, residents have taken out advertisements against it in district newspapers.

Supported by four local businesses and Killyman St Mary’s GAC, they are calling on all those who live in the area to “say no to the biodigester” at a meeting of Mid Ulster council’s planning committee on Tuesday, September 1.

The committee, which intends to allow Callan Renewables to build the plant, will make a final decision on the application at the 7pm meeting at Magherafelt council offices.

United in their opposition to the 500kw CAD plant, a spokesman for residents told the Times: “We are extremely disappointed at the planner’s decision to recommend approval... despite over 500 objections lodged from residents across the area - which appear to have been ignored.

“If this were to proceed it would change the character of our village for ever.

“It is easy for a planning officer behind a desk to approve a development of this nature and scale, knowing fine well they will not have to live with it on their doorstep, or [that] their children play in the park beside it.”

Lord Maurice Morrow has also called into question the suggested decision, stating that those living near smaller plants in other parts of the province have reported “problems of smells and spillages of waste on the approach roads”.

“I am amazed that planners are of the mind-set to recommend for approval this major application,” he said.

“The decision to ride roughshod over the views of an entire community says much about the mind-set of planner.

“I cannot recall another application in the South Tyrone area attracting so many objections.

“Plants of this nature should be located on farms or large industrial sites and not in a village setting.”

A spokesperson for Mid Ulster council said: “To comment on the application in advance of its consideration by the Planning Committee would be premature.”