Burnfoot community opposing proposed Scalp asphalt plant
A Donegal community, concerned about the potentially harmful effects of chemicals emitted by a proposed asphalt plant at Barr’s Pit quarry in Gortnaskea, Burnfoot, at the foot of Scalp Mountain, is actively opposing the development.
Campaign co-organiser, Conal O’Boyle, South Inishowen Green Party representative, organised a digital petition against the development.
Speaking to Donegal Live, Mr O’Boyle, said: “Subsequent to the application, Donegal County Council sought a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) from Moyle Plant Limited regarding the proposed asphalt plant.
“I am now actually glad to see this new information has finally come through, because it means the ball is in our court, and we can prevent this development from taking place. I have been working with local residents in the Burnfoot area since May on this issue, and we have been preparing for the day that this information was provided, and the window for objections could open.
“This is a project that would be damaging to health and the environment anywhere. However, considering that there is a plan to build it in an extremely close proximity to the already damaging Barr's Pitt site, it would be a disaster to both our health and our environment if it was to be built here.
“The Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons that this site will produce will be detrimental to health, and will have repercussions for businesses in this area such as Wild Ireland, Inishowen Mushrooms, the Whiteoaks Project, and local areas of preservation such as the Inch Wildfowl Reserve,” said Conal O'Boyle.
The young Green Party member added that the environment is seldom considered when applications are made for asphalt plants.
He said: “We have seen in other places that little or no consideration for the environment is taken into account when people apply to develop these sites. There are more sustainable ways of producing paving for roads. The current way we build roads is both financially and environmentally unsustainable. According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance in England, it would cost the taxpayer more than £12B to restore all the roads in England to a reasonable condition. Imagine what the cost would be in Ireland!
“Instead of developing these dangerous, environmentally damaging and health compromising asphalt plants, we really should be leading the way in sustainable production of roads. I would actually love to see fully sustainable paving surfaces being produced in Inishowen. That way, we are able to continue to provide paving for our roads, whilst not being environmentally damaging, and people's health won't be at risk.
“Unfortunately, this is not what we are seeing with this proposed development. We are seeing private wealth at the expense of public health, and I would hope that as many people in Inishowen as possible will file a planning objection to this development. The families in the area are thankful for the continued support of the community, but now, the ball is in our court, and we can and will act on this matter as much as we possibly can,” said Conal O'Boyle.
Donegal councillor Jack Murray said: “Following an online meeting with concerned residents and councillors, it was agreed that we would act as a conduit to the planning office and assist them in accessing information.
"Given that there is considerable concern in the local community regarding this application, it is essential that everyone has their say in the process and we are committed to helping them doing so.
"Any concerned member of the public can now make submissions to the planning office and they should avail of that right.
"While councillors rightly have no influence on an individual planning application, it is important that we listen to the concerns of the people we represent and assist them in any such queries they may have,” said Cllr Murray.
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