Plans for a €40 million expansion of a Kerrygold plant in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, that will double capacity at the existing facility have been put on hold following an objection by a local resident.
An appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the recent decision of Cork County Council to grant permission for an extension to the butter processing facility at the Kerrygold Park campus.
Ornua, through its subsidiary Kerrygold Butter Packing Ireland, has sought approval for the expansion in order to increase the capacity of the plant, which opened in 2016, to 80,000 tonnes per annum.
Ornua said all access to and from the plant would continue to be via the existing access road.
The appeal cites “unacceptable odours and nuisance” from unsealed heavy goods vehicles going to and from the plant via the town centre, contrary to existing planning conditions, as one of the main grounds of objection.
The appellant, a consultant engineer, said he did not object to the development in principle but was anxious that certain conditions would be attached to any permission to address his concerns regarding traffic, odour and noise.
They include the problem posed by lorries accessing the waste-water treatment plant that is also used by the adjoining Dairygold plant from the town.
He also expressed concern about the impact of the development on the environment as increased production would require more raw materials which would result in increases in cow herds and associated CO2 and ammonia levels.
An Taisce raised similar objections about the project with Cork County Council before the plan was approved, claiming existing milk production levels “are already causing significant and unlawful environmental damage”.
It is unclear if the heritage body, which controversially took a High Court action to try and block a €140 million new cheese plant by Glanbia Ireland and Royal A-Ware in Co Kilkenny on similar grounds, will lodge an appeal against the Ornua project.
Ornua, formerly known as the Irish Dairy Board, aims to grow sales of Kerrygold dairy products to €2 billion annually by 2025, with a particular focus on markets in the US, Germany and Asia. According to Ornua, 8.6 million packets of Kerrygold butter are sold every week in 110 different countries.
Ornua had originally hoped construction on the project could begin this summer, with the new facility completed by summer 2022. However, a ruling on the appeal by An Bord Pleanála is not due until November 23rd.