Dawn Meats has been granted permission by Meath County Council to construct a 7.2km pipeline from its Slane plant to the River Boyne for the disposal of its treated abattoir wastewater.

The local authority gave its green light for the pipeline construction from the Dawn Meats Slane beef abattoir site at Painestown, Beauparc, Navan, Co Meath, to the River Boyne at Ardmulchan, below the weir at Stackallen on Wednesday, 27 April 2022.

Dawn Meats submitted the initial application seeking permission for the development in March 2021.

However, the county council permitted development will now need An Bord Pleanála approval before construction can begin.

Environmental assessment

An environmental impact assessment report on the proposed pipeline seen by the Irish Farmers Journal said that it would cause no deterioration in water quality as the “treated final effluent values proposed by Dawn Meats Slane” are based upon the River Boyne’s assimilative capacity and current water quality.

Assimilative capacity is the ability for pollutants to be absorbed by an environment without detrimental effects to the environment or those who use of it.

The report said that the River Boyne would have sufficient assimilative capacity to accommodate the proposed discharge from the Dawn Meats Slane facility.

While the environmental assessment report says that the impact of noise on fish is not fully known and that some studies have shown that significant noise sources can halt migrating fish or result in death in extreme cases, it said the discharge of treated effluent from the pipeline would not have a significant noise impact on the fish in the river system concerned.


As part of the decision declared by Meath County Council this week, the local authority has also permitted Dawn Meats to add an extension to its existing wastewater treatment plant at the Slane site.

The on-site works will include the addition of a sludge press, changing an aeration tank to an anoxic tank and alterations to the plant’s perimeter to expand its total size by 592 square metres.

Granting the permission, Meath County Council declared that the 7.2km Dawn Meats wastewater pipeline will be laid along a section of Windmill Road, the L1013, Yellow Furze Road, the L1600 (Boyne Road) and the unnamed local road leading from the L1600 to the private land’s abutting the River Boyne at the discharge point.


The local authority stated that a Ms Bernadette Burke is the owner of the private land which will be used by Dawn Meats to access the river.

A number of submissions on the pipeline and associated works have been made to Meath County Council including by Labour TD Ged Nash.

Application ongoing

On Sunday, a Dawn Meats spokesperson said: “The planning application process for this multi-million-euro investment in wastewater treatment is ongoing.

“We believe it will have a positive impact through the removal of tanker traffic from local roads, and third-party studies, including a Natura Impact Statement, have assessed no negative impact on the river Boyne or surrounding habitats.”

They said the Dawn Meats site in Slane is fully licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that the company engages with the agency regularly.

The spokesperson highlighted that the new equipment will clean abattoir wastewater to international best practice standards.

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