In a move that is likely to cause difficulty for Monasterevin-based Cleary Composting and Shredding, An Bord Pleanala has ruled that a composting and recyling facility is a change of use from an agricultural activity and is not exempted development.
The consequence of this decision is that Cleary Composting and Shredding will be required, if it wishes to continue its activities, to apply for and get planning permission.
Cleary Composting and Shredding has been operating in what critics have characterised as ambigious planning circumstances.
Pat Cleary has claimed that what he was doing was exempted development.
Locals, who have been protesting against the operation in Larchill, near Monasterevin, referred various planning decisions for determination to An Bord Pleanala.
Locals’ attention was drawn to the facility some years ago as a a result of what they claimed were unpleasant odours coming from it.
And a group of them have been campaigning against it ever since. They even took to protesting on the road outside the premises.
In a lengthy report and determination by an inspector for An Bord Pleanala, which was approved by its board, the sometimes convoluted planning and permit history of the facility was explored, as was the history of objections by locals, and past rulings by both Kildare County Council and An Bord Pleanala.
Locals have submitted several appeals to an Bord Pleanala, but the most critical concerned whether the operation of Cleary Composting and Shredding was a recognisable change of use for Mr. Cleary’s farm, and whether that change of use was exempt from having to apply for planning permission.
Mr. Cleary had, in correspondence with An Bord Pleanala, said that the composting and shredding “will still be an agricultural purpose for the benefit of his land which surrounds the facility”.
An Bord Pleanala was also asked to consider whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should be carried out on the operations at the farm.
The Bord ruled that the current activities are a change of use, and they are not exmpted development.
It noted that there could be impacts on residential amenities due to dust, odours, air pollution and surface water and that what it called a “sub threshold EIA would be necessary”.