Banagher beef processing plant faces fresh planning hurdle

By Gordon Deegan

Plans for a €40 million beef processing plant for Banagher, Co. Offaly, face a fresh planning hurdle.

This follows Banagher man Desmond Kampff confirming that he is to lodge an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against the decision by Offaly County Council to give the project the green light last month.

The only objection lodged against the plan by Banagher Chilling Ltd was made by Kampff and Gwen Wordingham.

88-year-old Kampff lives around 1km from the proposed development.

Self described “lifelong environmentalist”, Kampff stated: “We are a small group of people living in the community near where the proposed meat plant would be.”

He added: “We made it known to Offaly County Council that the site is not suitable for a large-scale abattoir and it will have a negative impact on the local environment.

I can honestly say that talking to anybody in the town, or our neighbourhood, they could not see any sense in such a development.

Kampff stated: “There was no push locally to open a meat processing plant. There have been no public meetings, nobody knows who Banagher Chilling is, nobody from Banagher Chilling has made themselves known in any way to the people of Banagher.”

The environmentalist added: “The most recent revelation that one or more of the Chinese investors was turned down for an Irish investor visa gives us hope as the reason quoted for the decision is that there is no government support for additional meat processing where there was no established deficit in capacity.”

In the objection lodged against the plan, Kampff told Offaly County Council: “This proposed facility would require an expansion of the herd for its operation, which is unlikely given the urgency of the climate crisis, the ongoing slump in the price of beef, and the related pressure this would place on feed stocks and subsidies.”

Kampff stated that the surrounding area is already well served by abattoirs.

In the objection, Kampff stated: “The over-riding concern of local residents to this proposed development is the potential for it to cause huge carbon dioxide emissions at a time of national and global crisis.”

He stated: “The combined emissions this development would create through the use of transport, livestock and feed production, processing and staff commutes, and air miles involved in the export of beef to China, are vast and unacceptable given current pressure to reduce emissions and create a carbon neutral economy.”

Kampff stated that to grant planning would be contrary to the government’s declaration of a climate emergency and national environmental policies.

Planning documents lodged with the application state that there will be a slaughter rate of 140-a-day at the proposed plant.

The numbers it is to employ totals 110.