An Bord Pleanála has upheld a decision by Cork County Council to grant planning permission for a new flagship gas central grid injection (CGI) facility near Mitchelstown.
The Gas Networks Ireland development will accommodate the injection of 590 GWH of renewable biomethane into the national gas network. This equates to the gas demand of 56,000 homes.
The development, which includes the construction of 16 truck bays, a network entry facility unit, a compressed natural gas refuelling area and an odorant injection unit, spans across an area of 4.41ac.
The development will pave the way for the construction of smaller agricultural anaerobic digestion facilities by providing a common injection location.
The biomethane will be produced at the site of the facilities and then be transported to the GNI facility in pressurised road tankers. The gas will be transferred and prepared to be injected into the national gas grid.
On 19 May 2020, Cork County Council decided to grant permission for the proposed development subject to conditions.
However, an appeal to An Bord Pleanála was made by the NGO An Taisce, with Friends of the Irish Environment listed as an observer.
The grounds for appeal included a failure to examine the impact on “greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, nitrates and ammonia air pollution” in relation to producing the slurry and silage required to produce biomethane.
The An Bord Pleanála inspector report outlined the response to this point, which stated: “There is currently an oversupply of potential feedstock in Ireland which is resulting in the excessive spreading of slurries on lands which in itself could be having a negative environmental impact. AD facilities will help reduce this oversupply.”