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Environmental concerns raised by locals over dust levels at Cork coal plant

Cork City Council has been investigating the concerns.

CORK CITY COUNCIL has been investigating dust levels at a Cork coal plant after concerns were raised by local residents.

At a recent council meeting councillors were told that the report of the director of services stated that “the issue of environmental concern raised by local residents in the vicinity of Sutton’s Coal Yard was one of dust”.

Investigations into the matter by the council’s waste enforcement section have been ongoing since the submission of a motion on the issue.

The site’s operational hours are 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday but dust can be generated at any time, including when the site is closed, the council was told.

Investigations into the environmental impact on the locality are ongoing and have included multiple inspections in the vicinity of the site, on- and off-site meetings, regular follow-up contact with Bórd Na Mona, submission of a method statement for dust monitoring and purchase of specialist monitoring equipment also by the company.

Sutton’s Coal Yard does require an EPA Licence.


In a report presented to the council it was said that dust monitoring has been carried out on multiple occasions at both Sutton’s Coal Yard and surrounding areas, including a number of residential properties to the east and south of the site.

The recommended daily limit for dust is 350mg/m2/day.

The report said:

With the exception of the southern boundary dust levels for the first five rounds of dust monitoring were below this daily limit.

It said that an elevated dust reading at a site boundary would not necessarily
equate to similarly high dust readings at the nearest ‘sensitive receptors’ (ie homes).

However, given the elevated dust levels at the southern boundary the number of monitoring locations was expanded to include two residential homes immediately to the south of the site in Chiplee Avenue.

This was to ascertain actual dust deposition levels and to establish the dust impact, if any, on these residences.

Results from the sixth round of dust monitoring showed elevated dust levels at three of the four boundary locations and at one of the two residential properties being
monitored in Birchgrove.

Results from the seventh round of dust monitoring also showed elevated dust levels at three of the four boundary locations and, on this occasion, at both of the two residential properties being monitored in Birchgrove.

In addition, results from the eighth round of dust monitoring also showed elevated dust levels at both the southern boundary locations and at both of the two residential properties being monitored in Birchgrove.

The report said:

Notably, dust levels at the two nearest sensitive receptors (residences) located immediately south of the site were both below the recommended daily limit for dust.

The council said that given the reoccurrence of elevated dust levels, and in particular at two of the nearest homes, further actions will now be undertaken by the council.

The latest round of quarterly dust monitoring was underway in November and will be presented to the council when published.

Bord na Móna said in a statement that it has operated from the Suttons Coal Depot since 1998, and it has been based at its current location on the Monahan Road in Cork City since the 1960s.

The company employs 10 team members directly and supplies fuel to our customers in Cork city and county in partnership with multiple local bellmen and hauliers, which was of key importance this week especially.
The company confirms bulk raw materials are decreasing and will further reduce due to the Bituminous coal ban which will be in place from 2019.
Bord na Móna has been working with an external partner to monitor any dust emissions from the site. The business has also invested in specialist monitoring and abatement equipment and keeps the issue under ongoing review. The company will continue to engage with Cork City Council on the relevant issues involved.

Read: Putting diesel fuel tax on par with petrol ‘justifiable’, report finds>

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