Planning appeal blocks Lilly’s €400m plant in Ireland

Eli Lilly’s plans for a new biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Ireland that will be used to produce active ingredients for its biologic medicines, including its new Alzheimer’s candidate donanemab, has been blocked by a planning objection.

Lilly had already secured planning approval from Limerick City and County Council for the plant at the Raheen Business Park. However, an appeal against the decision by a local farmer – citing concerns about his land being flooded with contaminated water – has been upheld, according to a Limerick Post report.

Tom Ryan based his objection on the grounds that the Loughmore canal, which enters the Barnakyle River through his lands, had not been maintained by the local authority as agreed with local landowners, according to the newspaper.

The water course is the outfall for storm water from the Raheen Business Park, according to the appeal, which insists that storm water from the development “will find its way to the Loughmore Canal despite Limerick City and Council’s ill-informed assertion that there are no pathways between the development and the…canal.”

Ryan claims his lands have been flooded, and his livestock has suffered “unexplained physical distortions” that could be caused by chemical pollution, and says that there should be no further development of any kind on the business park.

Lilly announced its plan to build the facility earlier this year, saying it could create 300 permanent jobs at the plant itself, with another 500 positions required while it is under construction.

At the time, the Irish economic development agency IDA Ireland hailed the development, saying it would be used to “support increased demand for existing Lilly products and play a key role in bringing Lilly’s robust clinical pipeline…to patients around the world.”

It was also billed as another success for Ireland’s booming biopharma sector, which has almost doubled in size over the last decade, with nearly 40,000 employees in 2020, and is the third largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals in the world.

Lilly had already said it would relocate the 47,384 sqm campus – including a four-storey biopharma manufacturing facility of approximately 18,534 sqm – after planners raised concerns about the impact of construction on meadow species found at the site.

It’s not the final outcome, as the appeal will now be assessed with a decision expected by the planning department next March, says the Post.

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