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Environment

EPA says oil depot’s activities are not its business

THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed it doesn’t have a direct enforcement role concerning an installation or activity that is not subject to a licence issued by the agency. Responding to Clare Champion queries, the EPA recalled it received a complaint raising planning and environmental concerns about Burrenside Oil in September 2020. The EPA acknowledged receipt of the complaint and informed the complainant that Clare County Council has responsibility for dealing with the planning and environmental protection concerns described in the correspondence. The EPA also informed the complainant that it had reviewed the documents submitted and noted that the substantive complaint was one of alleged unauthorised development. It stated that it does not have a role in enforcing application of the planning and development legislation or the enforcement of planning permission conditions. After obtaining permission for GDPR compliance purposes, the EPA referred the complaint to Clare County Council for their investigation and action as appropriate in relation to the …

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Temporary swimming ban over elevated bacterial levels

Clare County Council, on the advice of the HSE has placed a temporary prohibition on swimming in Cappagh due to elevated bacterial levels. Ongoing motoring is being undertaken and the prohibition on swimming will be removed when bacterial levels recede to acceptable levels. The elevated bacterial levels are as a result of turbulent sea conditions which occurred over the weekend. The Council advises that people should not swim there until further notice.

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Work to tackle foul odours in Meelick on track to proceed

FOLLOWING a series of false dawns, it looks like works are finally on track to replace a 40-year-old sewerage treatment plant in South-East Clare that is causing foul odours for local residents. Householders in Ballycannon Heights, Meelick, have campaigned for years to get Clare County Council, and in more recent years Irish Water, to replace a waste water treatment plant that is no longer fit for purpose. Responding to Clare Champion queries, Irish Water confirmed land acquisition for this project is underway and it is expected that a CPO will be submitted in the coming weeks. “The construction start date will be subject to the completion of this process and planning approval,” said an Irish Water spokesman. Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is insisting that works to put in place a proper wastewater treatment plant for Ballycannon Heights should be separated from the ongoing Limerick Northern Distributor Road project. Temporary infrastructure was put in place back in the …

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Top Irish temperatures recorded at Shannon in May

LAST month was the third warmest May on record in Ireland, and Shannon saw the highest temperatures in the country during it. Shannon had an average temperature of 13.1 degrees celsius for the month, the highest of all the Met Éireann weather stations  in Ireland. It also had the highest temperature recorded in Ireland, when the mercury reached 21 degrees on May 28. Rainfall in Shannon was 20% below average for the month, while there were 175.8 hours of sunshine, just below the town’s long term average.  The Met Éireann summary of the month said, “May was a warm, relatively dry month overall, with the airflow mostly between southerly and westerly. “High pressure to the south and east of Ireland dominated at times, interspersed with periods where low pressure to the west and north west brought bands of rain or showers across the country.  “The first week saw frontal rain in the South and East at first, followed by drier …

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Serious shortcomings alleged about Council oil depot inspection

THERE was no evidence of oil contamination on the ground area in any part of the Burrenside Oil site at Ballygassane, Crusheen or in nearby watercourse, according to an inspection by the Environment Department of Clare County Council. On foot of a complaint received by the Environment Department last September, this department carried out two site inspections of the company, according to a report completed by an EPA complaints co-ordinator, which was obtained by the Clare Champion. The site inspection report outlined the fuel tanks on the site are all stored in bunds. The report stated, “There was no evidence of oil contamination on the ground area in any part of the site or in nearby watercourse. “An oil interceptor was observed in place at the site. There was no odour detected at the site at the time of the inspections. “The managers of the facility were advised both during the site inspections and in writing of their obligations to …

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Clare community seeks to halve energy use inside seven years

A REDUCTION of 50% in energy use in homes and non-residential properties is a target that the community of Clooney/Spancillhill has set itself over the next seven years.  Also outlined in the recently-launched Energy Masterplan for the area are opportunities for a community-owned solar farm, a coppice to produce biomass, smart meters, solar panels, a sustainable bus service and more charging points for electric vehicles. The visionary document has been produced by Clooney/Spancilhill Development Association through funding and mentoring support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Mentor Gearóid Fitzgibbon was among those to attend the launch of the Masterplan in Clooney last Wednesday night (March 25), as well as officials from Clare County Council and the Killaloe Municipal District Cathaoirleach, Councillor Joe Cooney.  Clooney National School will also play a key role. As part of the process of drawing up the plan, it was chosen for an energy audit from the non-residential sector. From the energy saving measures …

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Barrage move could stave off Ennis flooding disaster

GRIM predictions of rising sea levels has prompted a renewed call for the relocation of the Clarecastle tidal barrage downstream to safeguard Ennis from “rapid flooding on an unprecedented scale”. Chartered building surveyor Fergus Merriman is concerned about scientific reports predicting sea level changes upwards of 600 mm in just five years and what that will mean for Ennis and other vulnerable Clare areas. Other forecasts indicate the glacier in the in Antarctica is rapidly breaking apart and could raise sea levels by over two or possibly three feet. Even if the lowest predictions of sea level change come to fruition and national and local governments don’t act soon then Ennis would be in trouble, said Mr Merriman. He warned this can’t be addressed by continuing to raise earth dams, which are at risk of “rotational shear” when the weight of water on one side topples the weight of the earth on the other – an issue that led to …

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Call for inquiry into the health effects of Estuary industry

AN independent public inquiry needs to be undertaken to properly assess the impact of industries situated along the Shannon Estuary on the environment and health of Clare people. That’s according to Deputy Cathal Crowe who is supporting calls from local environment campaigner Pat Geoghegan for a fresh look at the impact of local industries in view of the findings of an epidemiologist. In an interview with the Clare Champion, Deputy Crowe said concerned residents living on both sides of the estuary want more than the current level of EPA inspections on industries releasing substances into the atmosphere. The Fianna Fáil Deputy stressed this call isn’t about jeopardising jobs provided by these industries but centres on appropriately addressing legitimate concerns of environmental campaigners who claim to have a body of evidence justifying their dissatisfaction with current levels of environmental protection. The Meelick Deputy said it was important that air monitoring stations should be permanently located on the Clare side of the …

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