Bord na Mona lodges objection to Foynes smokeless fuel project

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

The former Koala plant in Foynes which CPL Fuels Ltd  has leased. It plans to redevelop the building and 17-acre site for a smokeless fuel processing plant.
BORD na Móna has objected to the plan by CPL Fuels Ltd to develop a smokeless fuel plant in Foynes which is projected to create 142 jobs.

BORD na Móna has objected to the plan by CPL Fuels Ltd to develop a smokeless fuel plant in Foynes which is projected to create 142 jobs.

CPL applied in May for planning permission to develop and extend the former Koala site in Foynes and hoped to be in production by the end of next year.

But now an objection has been lodged by consultants on behalf of Bord na Móna, the council has looked for further information and it could take several months before any decision is now even possible.

However, the objection has added weight to speculation that Bord na Móna is itself planning to develop a smokeless fuel processing plant in the area.

A fortnight ago, a spokesman for the company told RTÉ that it had carried out pre-planning assessments on a number of sites and was now entering the “final stage” of selecting a site.

They would then carry out a rigorous environmental assessment of the chosen site, he explained, with early public consultation.

Bord na Móna currently imports and sells smokeless fuel products but their plans to protect their market share and ensure supply had been accelerated because of the prospect of a ban on bituminous coal and the probable expansion of smokeless areas.

The first smokeless area was introduced in Dublin in 1990 but other areas, including parts of Limerick city, have been added since.

The CPL Fuels proposal in Foynes involves redeveloping the existing buildings on the Koala site, with some additions and extensions. In phase one, the company plans to manufacture smokeless fuels in the plant while the second phase involves manufacturing biofuels using biomass as the raw material.

The company had hoped to be on site by the end of this year and in production by the end of 2015.

However, consultants for Bord na Móna have found numerous faults with CPL’s plans.

Many of the objections are highly technical but among them they point out that using an oven to heat-treat coal briquettes using a molasses binder may require a Integrated Pollution Control Licence.

If this is the case, it should have been made clear in the application notice, they say.

There is limited information on the processes that will be involved, the objection also states and this leads them to suggest that the Environmental Impact Satement “is somewhat meaningless and deficient”.

They also raise issues about the waste water treatment systems, saying they are under-sized and question whether there is adequate storage for the levels of production being proposed.

The submission also asks, what are the exact production levels, given that various figures between 70,000 and 350,000 tonnes a year are put forward.

And they find fault with the noise levels, and the road and shipping traffic volumes being put forward by CPL.

Nobody was available from CPL to respond to these issues as the company is currently on holiday.