Submission to Meath CoCo - Impact of Dawn Meat Plant Application on River Boyne
30 March 2021
Submission on planning application reference number; 21424 (Dawn Meat Ireland).
I am writing as a concerned local citizen and on behalf of constituents in Louth & East Meath to raise my concerns in relation to the application from Dawn Meats Ireland (Refence Application Number 21424), specifically the impact the proposed discharge of treated effluent will have on the River Boyne (particularly in the East Meath area but in the important water course and natural asset and amenity more generally).
I share and support the concerns expressed by my colleague and member of Meath County Council Elaine McGinty in her separate submission on the proposed application.
In recent days I have been contacted by numerous constituents who are deeply concerned upon reading the environmental impact assessment (EIA) related to this proposal. In short, I believe the following points derived from the EIA should preclude this project from proceeding:
- Possible deterioration in the water quality of the River Boyne. The proposal looks at the "Assimilative Capacity" of the River Boyne to absorb pollutants without detrimental effects to the environment or those who use it. This is very concerning given the importance of the River as a habitat and a natural resource and amenity for the region.
- The potential to impact upon human beings by adversely affecting drinking water quality, anglers, and water-based leisure activities in the area.
- While the proposal would remove the need for tankers to transport wastewater daily to municipal treatment plants the cost savings to the company simply cannot outweigh the impact on the environment and those that depend on the river for water. The primary consideration here ought to be concerned with safe and sustainable planning and protection of the local environment, not the bottom linen of the applicant.
While recognising that Dawn Meat Ireland provides employment in the locality and the need to support such enterprises is very important, this application ought to be considered exclusively on planning and environmental grounds only.
Given that the EIA has found that “cost savings to the company cannot outweigh the impact on the environment and those that depend on the river”, it is clear that the project is allowed to proceed would lead to a clear risk if significant deterioration of the River Boyne’s water quality with subsequent determinantal outcomes for all habitat-users, including many of Dawn Meat’s workers’ who live, work and engage in recreational activities along the Boyne Valley.
In short, the importance of the River Boyne as an ecological, cultural and social focal point for communities within Louth & East Meath cannot be understated and this must be put to the forefront of any decision.
I therefore strongly urge you on these grounds to reject the proposal submitted by Dawn Meat Ireland and I look forward to hearing the outcome of the application process in due courses.
Ged Nash TD
The Labour Party