Northern Ireland

Poultry-litter waste: Stormont lends more than £7m to plant near Ballymena

Chicken farm Image copyright AP
Image caption The total cost of the poultry-litter plant near Ballymena is £23m

Stormont is to loan more than £7m in public money towards the cost of a plant to deal with waste from Northern Ireland's poultry industry.

Planning permission for the anaerobic digester at Tully Quarry near Ballymena has already been granted.

It will take 40,000 tonnes of poultry litter a year, generating biogas and producing a fertiliser.

The total cost of the project is £23m. Most of the rest of the money is coming from private finance.

It is the second poultry-litter plant to get backing from the Northern Ireland Executive in this way.

The first, in County Donegal, was announced earlier this year.

The latest facility is important because Northern Ireland wants to expand its poultry industry, but needs a plan to cope with the waste it creates. About 270,000 tonnes of waste is generated every year.

It has a high phosphorous content which means that, in order to comply with EU protections for rivers and lakes, the bulk of it cannot be spread on land because of the risk of contamination.

The plant is expected to be ready by 2017.

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