Alderman Devenney stated that he had raised an issue at a previous meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Committee regarding the alleged concerns of bio-digesters. He stated environmental impact assessments had not been carried out and he had asked for the matter to be dealt with by the Environment and Regeneration Committee, Planning Committee and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). He noted that NIEA had reported that ammonia and phosphate levels were almost four times higher than the permitted level and that the digest had also been spread on agricultural land. He expressed concern that the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) had no records or controls on how the digest was spread in rural areas. He that he had raised the matter at a previous meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Committee and was advised that it was a matter for the Planning Committee and asked for clarification on the matter.
In response, the Mayor advised that the matter was listed on the Agenda for the meeting of the Planning Committee on 6 February 2019.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that Members of the Environment and Regeneration Committee had agreed that officers bring a report in relation to the planning issues regarding anaerobic bio-digesters to the Planning Committee meeting on 6 February. She stated that at the January meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Committee, Members further considered issues relating to NIEA and requested that they be invited to a meeting of the Planning Committee. She advised that NIEA would be invited to attend a meeting of either the Planning or the Environment and Regeneration Committee.