The Japanese Knotweed Company has not ruled out appealing to An Bord Pleanála the decision by Mayo Co Council to refuse planning permission for a treatment facility in Ballyhaunis for the invasive plant.
Risks to the environment and the possible depreciation of nearby property were among the reasons why local authority planners refused permission for the facility, at Drumbaun. However, a company spokesperson said an appeal wasn’t out of the question, although the company may also find another site.
“We’re disappointed; we have to look at our options,” he said.
Locals submitted a number of objections when the facility was proposed for the disused quarry, just off the Claremorris Road, last May. Plans for the recovery facility, for soil containing Japanese Knotweed, were first put forward for Claremorris, but those were withdrawn after a local outcry. A planning application was then submitted for the Ballyhaunis facility, and its promoters, the Kerry-based Japanese Knotweed Company, held public meetings in the east Mayo town to allay concerns.
However, despite the pre-planning consultation, several objections were submitted, with opponents citing noise pollution, health-and-safety concerns, and the negative effect the facility could have on their properties and lands. Last July, planners sought further information on 40 separate points and, last month, almost a year after the application was first submitted, they refused planning permission. Noting the proximity of the quarry site to the River Dalgan, council planners said they were not satisfied that the proposed development would not affect the integrity of Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation and Lough Corrib Special Protection areas, or that it wouldn’t have a negative impact on the environment, wouldn’t seriously injure amenities, or depreciate the value of nearby property. The promoters are now left with two choice: appeal the council’s decision or find a new location.