Concerns over Donegal poultry litter plant

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Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has questioned DAERA officials on possible implications of Brexit on the previous decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to loan over £9m towards the cost of a plant in the Republic of Ireland to help deal with waste from Northern Ireland’s poultry industry.

Robin Swann said: “The poultry industry is crucially important not only to the local agri-food sector but to the entire Northern Ireland economy. The sector has been facing the growing challenge however of what to do with the increasing quantities of litter which it produces; approximately 260,000 tonnes each year. If the sector is to expand to new markets, which it appears more than capable to do, then there will be even more litter generated. Traditionally the Province’s poultry litter would have been spread on agricultural land but following the introduction of the Nitrates Directive this became no longer feasible.

“It was announced earlier this year that a major anaerobic digester was going to be built near Ballybofey in County Donegal with a capacity to handle 25,000 tonnes of litter every year. The project is being supported by a £9.3m, or 40%, loan from the Northern Ireland Executive.

“Given the democratic decision of the UK to vote to leave the European Union, questions will now be raised about the mechanisms of the deal is going to work in reality. Not only will the waste now be transported cross-border, but from a non-EU member to an EU Member.”