There have been growing calls for an oral hearing into the granting of a licence by the EPA to Irish Cement to burn over 90,000 tonnes of alternative fuels, including used tyres and other solid waste, at its production kiln at Mungret in Limerick.

The company was granted a licence in September to burn the fuels as part of a €10m plan to move away from the burning of fossil fuels, which it says will reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 40,000 tonnes a year without impacting on air quality.

The company said this is already the practice in cement factories across Europe, and is in place at its plant at Platin in Co. Meath. It says the plan will also help secure the future of the Limerick plant which employs 100 people.

Limerick City and County council granted planning permission to the company in March 2017 despite over 4,000 objections from local people and schools in the area, who fear the plans will have an impact on public health and on the environment.

The Limerick Against Pollution group LAP has lead a vigorous campaign against the plans and has also lead a number of marches and public protests calling for the plan to be withdrawn.

Limerick City and County council, which granted the original planning permission, has now lodged a formal objection to the granting of the EPA licence, and has also called for an oral hearing into the matter given the level of public objection to it.

The Council has concerns about the level of emissions outlined in the licence which are higher than those permitted in the Industrial Emissions Directive.

Clare County council has also objected to the granting of the EPA licence.

Mayor of Clare, Councillor Cathal Crowe has also called on Limerick city and County council to invoke Section 44 of the Planning Act to revoke its original planning permission.

Cllr Crowe said the plant which is located on the Shannon estuary is only a stones throw from the Clare boundary, and the prevailing south west winds will ensure that particles which go into the chimney stack will end up on Clare soil.