Tuam biogas plant opposition

In 2011, a businessman and entrepreneur by the name of Liam Furey submitted an application for a 499 kw anaerobic digestion biogas plant in Tuam, Ireland. In doing so, he was required by law, as a part of the application process, to notify local residents of an information meeting where they would be able to voice their concerns and alleviate any fears or hangups that might exist. According to a concern group formed later on in the process, this initial meeting was kept relatively secretive and very few people showed up to have their say in the project. Herein lies the beginning stages for the reasons for the conflict. Right from the start, the local residents felt as though they were being bypassed by developers and not being given the chance to address the things that they thought to be detriments to their community. These concerns were other reasons for conflict and were based primarily on air quality/?odour nuisances.? The concern group mentioned before is the Tuam Bio Gas Concern Group and has been quoted in saying that (the biogas project) ?will destroy the air quality. We have to put people first. The whole town is united on this issue. This is sludge, offal, the world?s worst stuff, it would destroy Tuam.? It is clear to see here that the locals felt very strongly about this issue. The concern group was not the only opposing force in this matter. Other groups included, the Irish Wheelchair Association, Tuam Athletic Club, the Tuam Stars, Tuam Golf Club, Tuam Celtic and several others. Developers believed the plant to be a productive and profitable plant, while community members believe that Tuam was too urban to not be negatively affected by decreased air quality. The proposed plant was to be primarily fed by vegetable and food waste. Other concerns, besides air quality degradation included but was not limited to drainage into nearby rivers, land use allowances, safety precautions with dangerous gases and general pollution. When ranking the importance of ecological, economic, social and cultural concerns respectively, I believe that it goes as follows. Ecological - 3 Economic - 3(pollution to drive away business) Social - 4 Cultural - 2. This project was shut down by the overwhelming opposition by the community in 2013. While the community?s concerns were valid, I believe that there were possible solutions that were never explored. These include transparency from the beginning (always seems to be the case with environmental conflicts), relocation to a more rural part of the region and more clear and defined communication of practices used and how they would alleviate some of the concerns of the public.

Ongoing conflict? no
Conflict type Bioenergy governance conflicts, Land use conflicts
Resources
Issues 3 ecological, economical, 4 social, cultural
Keywords opposition, biogas plant, Tuam, Ireland
References http://www.tuamherald.ie/news/roundup/articles/2014/03/28/4029081-town-unites-in-opposition-to-latest-biogas-plant-plans https://www.facebook.com/tuambiogasconcerngroup/info/?tab=page_info
Start date 2011
End date 2011
Reason(s) for conflict
Intensity public debate
What are the stakeholders' conflicting values or interests
Barriers for dialogue
Forums for dialogue
Suggestions for conflict resolution / transformation
Comments

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