Campaigners welcome sludge site refusal

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Campaigners against a controversial human waste sludge site at Broad Road outside Limavady are “relieved” an application for the site has been refused.

Danny Holmes of the lobby group, Roe Action Against Sludge Plant (RAASP), which vocally opposed the application, welcomed news of the refusal, confirmed at Tuesday’s Council planning meeting. The application was refused because of issues surrounding traffic management, the environment and a “malodorous nuisance” to the public.

There were hundreds of objections to the plant, and a planning application had been lodged to re-open the waste treatment works.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood visited the site of the proposed sludge plant, accompanied by Danny Holmes from RAASP and local DUP representatives.

Speaking on behalf of RAASP, Danny Holmes told the ‘Journal’ members were “delighted and relieved the planners, in their wisdom”, took on board the major issues and concerns regarding the site.

“The Minister could see this was not a remote location, but the site was located on a main, arterial route and in an area of outstanding natural beauty,” he said.

Councillors in Limavady and Coleraine supported the group, as did all local MLAS, for which Mr. Holmes said was greatly appreciated.

“I’d like to thank all the representatives on behalf of the group for opposing this.”

In a statement, local DUP councillors congratulated RAASP “who have been so active in opposing the application for this site. They must be commended for their proactive stance to date”.

“As councillors we were delighted to support their cause and the fight we have put up, led by George Robinson MLA, has been as pointed as we could make it. The Minister had visited the site and we believe this was an important factor in the recommendation for refusal. We would thank the Minister for taking the time to visit the site,” said the DUP.

“We would caution, however, that this may not be the end of the application entirely. The applicants have the right to seek an appeal but we sincerely hope that with the level of opposition expressed that they will accept this decision.

“It was welcome that there was unanimous support for the notice of motion we brought from Limavady Borough Council, and that of Coleraine Borough Council.”

Ulster Unionist Jack Rankin said it was “excellent news” after a long drawn out process.

“Thank goodness there is a refusal,” he said. “The objectors must be praised. It’s an excellent result, the only result.”