Glanbia plans for a €140m cheese plant in Belview, Co Kilkenny, have hit a stumbling block after An Bord Pleanála received objections from An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment.

The plant is a joint venture by Glanbia and Dutch dairy group Royal A-Ware.

An Taisce’s objection highlights concerns over encouraging the growth of Ireland’s dairy herd in light of climate change and their involvement with the Dutch group.

“Intensive cattle farming is also a major emitter of GHGs and is contributing significantly to Ireland’s ongoing failures to reach its legally binding Paris Agreement targets,” the objection says.

Heritage officer for An Taisce Ian Lumley also told the Irish Farmers Journal they were concerned that Dutch dairy group Royal A-Ware were using Ireland as a base to continue manufacturing dairy products after The Netherlands was forced to cull roughly 200,000 cows after breaching their nitrates derogation.

“The location attraction of Ireland for Royal A-Ware is its direct and indirect subsidy regime, supporting expansion of milk production, processing and export of products,” the objection reads.

Lumley said the organisation was concerned that the continued expansion of the Irish dairy herd could lead to serious problems with pollution similar to The Netherlands.

In response, Glanbia said the plant was a key part of its Brexit mitigation strategy and it would work closely with all parties to resolve concerns.

"From a science-based perspective, the Irish dairy system has an important role to play in supplying nutritious, sustainable dairy to populations both at home and abroad. Ireland has the lowest emissions per kilogramme of milk solids produced in the EU, and one of the lowest on the planet according to third party scientific reports," a spokesperson for Glanbia said.

"The proposed facility is a key part of Glanbia Ireland’s Brexit mitigation strategy and will help diversify into new markets beyond the UK, thus helping to limit the potential impact of Brexit on our farmer suppliers. Glanbia Ireland already has a volume of milk currently being processed by third parties which would be processed in the new facility."

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